Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries that one can sustain at the workplace. According to the National Safety Council, there were 48,410 ankle injuries in 2019, making up about 5.5 percent of workplace injuries. 11 days was the median amount of missed workdays for workers who sustained ankle injuries.
Common Causes of Ankle Injuries
There are a number of ways workers might experience an unexpected ankle injury:
- Amputation. This is the most serious of ankle injuries and can occur when a foot gets caught in machinery or if a worker experiences a motor vehicle accident. A serious injury such as when the ankle is severely fractured or crushed might also necessitate amputation as part of medical treatment.
- Fractures. The bones of the foot are small and fragile, and therefore prone to fractures. Fractures can happen in a number of ways, including getting stuck underneath something or in equipment, or during trips and falls.
- Cartilage Damage. Damage to cartilage can occur during injuries, but it can also occur as the result of repetitive movements or job duties that require frequent, cyclic walking.
- Strains and Sprains. Strains and sprains can result from trips, falls, and any other accident that causes the joint to twist or turn. Falls frequently occur from unsafe walking conditions such as icy conditions during the winter, equipment being left on the phone, or uneven walking surfaces.
These types of injuries can be prevented by evaluating hazards in the workplace and ensuring that debris, tools and materials are put away after use. Employers must also make sure to train employees to comply with workplace safety policies.
Sudden injuries aren’t the only ankle injuries one can sustain in the workplace. Stress injuries can cause debilitating damage, even if the injuries develop over a long period of time. Two of the most common stress-related injuries are:
- Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is when the inflammation of the plantar fascia causes pain on the sole of the foot, especially in the heel. This usually occurs when there is repetitive use of the foot, such as standing or walking for long periods of time. This can also cause strain around the muscles and tendons of the ankle.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis is when the tendons around the ankle joints become swollen or irritated. This usually occurs from overuse.
To prevent stress-related injuries, employers should encourage workers to wear proper footwear. Proper footwear can also prevent sudden or severe injuries. Footwear should protect feet from hazards in the workplace, but also provide support to the foot and ankle. Doing stretches can also help prevent stress-related injuries and pain.
What To Do If You Injure Your Ankle at Work
In the case of an ankle injury, there are important steps to follow.
- Get immediate care. If a worker sustains an ankle injury, they should inform their boss, and then seek immediate medical care. If their injury is severe, they should seek assistance in being taken to the hospital or doctor.
- Continue follow-up treatment. The injured worker must continue to seek treatment and may need to seek care from medical professionals approved by the employer’s insurance.
- Apply for a workers’ comp claim. The claim should be filed as soon as possible after the injury, and the injured worker should document as much as possible related to the injury, such as medical bills, doctors’ visits, etc.
Workers’ Compensation claims for injured ankles averaged $31,777 from 2018 to 2019. If a worker does need to file a claim for an ankle injury, seeking professional legal help can ensure that the claim is filed properly and that everything that is owed to the injured party is properly paid. If you are considering filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, O’Connor Law PLLC can help. We will guide you through the legal process and inform you about your rights if you sustain an ankle injury at work. Contact our team today.