We generally don’t stop to consider the structure of our feet until we begin experiencing pain when walking or other signs of a serious foot injury. While the bones in the foot can fracture and the foot’s muscles can experience strains, one of the more common and potentially serious foot injuries are torn ligaments. Ligaments are the strong and flexible tissues that hold the bones throughout your body together; when a ligament tears, the resulting injury is often referred to as a sprain. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment by an orthopedic surgeon may be required to treat torn ligaments in the foot.
Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in the Foot
Torn ligaments can occur following a range of physical activities from dancing to snowboarding, and several common symptoms can help identify a torn ligament as the cause of your foot pain.
- Swelling and bruising will occur at the site of injury.
- Pain and tenderness are concentrated on the top, bottom or the sides of your foot near the arch.
- Pain intensifies when walking or during other physical activity.
- Inability to bear weight on the injured foot.
In order to correctly diagnose a torn ligament, your doctor will usually take an x-ray of your foot to confirm the location and severity of the injury.
Treatment Options for Torn Foot Ligaments
The appropriate treatment for a torn ligament in the foot varies depending on the severity of the injury. Minor sprains resulting from small tears to your ligaments–often referred to as grade I–will generally heal on their own within a few weeks. Large tears to your foot’s ligaments, also known as grade II sprains, need more attention; these moderately severe sprains usually require a splint or cast and can take up to eight weeks to heal. For both minor and moderate sprains, your doctor may provide you with crutches to help limit the pain as your foot heals.
The most severe injuries to the ligaments of the foot involve cases where the ligaments are completely torn or detached from the bones of the feet. For these grade III sprains, foot surgery may be the only suitable treatment.
Do You Need Foot Surgery?
If you suspect that you may have torn a ligament in your foot, receiving prompt medical attention from an orthopedic specialist is the best way to avoid more serious injury. At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, our skilled medical team can assess your injury and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.Return to Blog