Six Common Foot and Ankle Injuries Physicians Can Easily Misdiagnose

JANUARY 31, 2017
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
hospital medicine, emergency medicine, rheumatology, rheumatoid arthritis, pain management, surgery, chronic pain, ankle, foot, injury, orthopedics, bones, emergency room, ER

Although some foot and ankle injuries are not serious, physicians are often advised to recommend additional tests to make the proper diagnosis. A new study found just how damaging a misdiagnosis of a lower extremity injury can be to a patient’s health.

“As an osteopathic physician, I view treatment of foot and ankle injuries as acute and preventive care because mismanaged injury leads to so many future problems for patients,” lead author, Jessica Reissig, DO, of the Department of Orthopedics at Plainview Hospital in New York, said in a news release.

Common foot and ankle injuries account for more than three million emergency room visits every year in the United States, according to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Many of these injuries are among the six examined in the study: lateral talar process fractures, os trigonum injuries, Lisfranc injuries, turf toe, navicular stress fractures, and syndesmotic injuries.

“These types of trauma are a clinically significant source of morbidity and long-term disability among patients, not just those who are elite athletes,” Reissig continued.

The quicker that patients receive the correct foot or ankle injury diagnosis, the quicker physicians can implement the proper treatment. However, prolonging the process can escalate, leading to chronic pain, arthritis, and disability—ultimately, worsening patients’ quality of life.

Researchers analyzed these six injuries, which often occur in athletes, and how they can be confused with other injuries.

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