t’s the high school nerd in me that is not very well concealed. The news is out today that the filming of Iron Man 3 had to be halted to due Robert Downey Jr.’s ankle injury. Unclear at this time what happened, but it seems from early reports that he sustained an ankle sprain. If that’s the case, he is in good company – the ankle is the most commonly injured joint in the body and ankle sprains represent fully 10% of ankle injuries.
So what should Robert Jr. do?
First, remember that the most common ankle injuries involve the three ligaments on the outside of the ankle. As the ankle twists on the foot, those ligaments are strained. In younger patients with strong bones, the bones remain intact and the ligaments become strained or torn. In older patients with shall we say less strong bones, the ligaments remain intact but the bones fracture. Robert’s injury most likely involves a strain or tear of the ligaments. The first stage of treatment involves RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation. Keep the area rested, apply a compressive bandage, and use a form of immobilization such as an ankle brace or walking cast boot. Over a few weeks, Robert can start to walk on the ankle, and gradually get back to normal activity, possibly with the assistance of physical therapy.
And how long should this take? Well, about 3-6 weeks, but it is guaranteed to take as long as it wants to take and it is always longer than we want it to. Remember, the body wants to heal, we just have to enable it to do so. Luckily, ankle sprains are both common and heal well. In most cases, the ankle heals completely with no long term effects. After multiple injuries, or a serious tear, surgery may be necessary to repair the ligaments for long term stability. For that reason, it is important to seek treatment immediately from your NYC podiatrist for your ankle sprain.
See you in the office.
Ernest L. Isaacson DPM