Some workplace injuries may not seem severe, and you may be tempted not to file a workers’ compensation claim. Why is that a bad idea?
Something like a minor ankle injury may not seem that serious to you. Turned or sprained ankles are a common injury. You may even avoid going to see a doctor, thinking it will heal on its own. However, if you happen to have a broken bone or torn tendon or ligament instead of just a sprain or strain, this could turn into a serious medical situation.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that your ankle is a complex area with multiple bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. The potential for a serious injury is very high. The more complex the ankle injury, the more instability occurs. This could lead to you falling and causing further injury to the area, or an inability to bear weight on that leg.
If you do not get proper treatment for a complex ankle injury, it could heal incorrectly and have lasting effects on your mobility, which could in turn affect your ability to do your job and household chores. In some cases, you will need surgery to repair improperly healed bones and “fuse” a part of the joint together to provide stability and pain relief.
Unless it is obviously a surgical injury, Doctors typically treat ankle injuries “conservatively” at first, with medications, rest, and physical therapy. You might be given a “boot” to provide support to the weakened ankle and give it a chance to heal on its own.
Rehab – physical therapy – will help you to regain movement safely to the ankle without causing more injury. It will strengthen the muscles and ligaments that may have lost strength during the healing process. In some cases, complete recovery from an ankle injury may take up to two years.
Whenever you are injured at work, it is important to notify your employer right away and file a written incident report with the employer within 30 days of the injury. What might seem like a minor workplace injury could be much more severe than you think and could impact your ability to work – and in turn, your financial stability.
In North Carolina, an injured worker has two years from the date of the injury by accident to file a claim for benefits with the NC Industrial Commission. And, of course, we can help. That is what we do.