Q.I’m 40 and injured my ankle a month ago while rollerskating. I had swelling and pain and also a bruise around my ankle. It still pains me, and I now have pain going up my shin as well as in my ankle. I can walk on my foot. Should I get it looked at? Could there be a fracture, or does a sprain last this long?
A. Ankle injuries are among the most common problems that bring patients to my office. When I evaluate a patient with an ankle injury, one of the most important questions I ask relates to the mechanism of the injury. You mentioned that your injury occurred about a month ago while roller skating, and that you initially had pain and swelling as well as a bruise around the ankle.
Ankle sprains can cause prolonged symptoms. With sprains, we often see prolonged swelling. Typically, there is little swelling in the morning, but as the day progresses there is further swelling and also some pain. The fact that you are still having pain one month since the injury and that the pain radiates up into the shin leads me to recommend an orthopedic evaluation.
An X-ray can be taken to check for a fracture, although based on your description, I think a fracture is unlikely. If an X-ray does not show a fracture, then I typically recommend a home exercise program that includes exercise to help with the mobility of the ankle as well as to aid in strengthening the muscles supporting the ankle. I also use some form of brace to provide stability and prevent another injury during the recuperation.