Skip to navigation

What we're up to

News Friday, March 03, 2017

My child has an ankle injury! Now what?

Walk-in injury clinic

Ankle injuries are common mishaps on the playground and playing field. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu has a morning walk-in injury clinic for playground and sports injuries – where ankle injuries are the most common type of injury seen.

“It’s actually the largest injury that is seen within young athletes. Even the weekend athletes, ankle injuries are one of the biggest,” said Cindy Tamayo, rehabilitation manager.

“You lose range of motion, you lose some strength and you obviously get some swelling and pain, but the other thing that people don’t realize, when you’ve injured the ligaments or the tissue that holds your joints together, a lot of times you lose what we call proprioception and what that is, is your body’s ability to understand where it is in space and in relationship to each other.”

Tamayo says physical therapy in the hospital’s rehabilitation department can help. Taizo Braden, anchor of KHON’s Living808, visited Shriners Hospital's rehabilitation department and Tamayo showed him some exercises to help rebuild strength and mobility when you’re dealing with an ankle injury.

“By doing activities that bring you to more of a challenge point in that balance and proprioception, we can retrain it. So this is a really important aspect to the recovery after an ankle injury,” said Tamayo.

She demonstrated using a BOSU ball.

“What this does is it challenges your balance and your body awareness. A normal person is going to be challenged on this, but if you had an ankle injury, this is a device that we would use in rehab to help you regain strength and start to challenge you. By doing activities that bring you to more of a challenge point in that balance and proprioception, we can retrain it. So this is a really important aspect to the recovery after an ankle injury,” said Tamayo.

She also demonstrated a balancing exercise using an Airex mat.

“So, for a sports injury for a soccer player or a basketball player, we would have them do a soccer-type activity and with it we might have them catch a soccer ball. We might have them try a basketball catch. For pitchers, I have them try and do a pitch, because again, any kind of activity you’re doing in your upper body is going to be challenging what’s happening down below,” said Tamayo.

Aja Middleton, 7, injured her ankle at school.

“I was playing at recess and I jumped off this high rock. I fell a funny way and I injured my foot.” said Middleton.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu is the only hospital in Hawaii that offers keiki-sized crutches, so her mother took her to the hospital’s walk-injury clinic on Punahou Street. Aja got crutches fitted just for her size and learned how to properly use them.  

“They taught me how to walk up and down the stairs when I got my crutches the first time. It helped me a lot and I was healed in a little while and I was able to play and do the things that I like,” said Middleton.

The Punahou student raved about her care at Shriners [Hospital].

“I thought it was great and they were very good here. I had good care and I just couldn’t wait to get back to school and doing all the sports that I like, like tennis,” said Middleton.

“Shriners is my favorite place to go when I get injured and I think it would be a great place.”

All children up to 18 years of age are welcomed to the injury clinic, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Care is provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay. An appointment is not necessary. If the child walks in after noon, they will be seen at the earliest possible appointment or the first appointment the next day.

“If your child is injured or you have a question about any type of significant injury, and you want to see a doctor, you can walk in, and you’ll be seen by an orthopaedic surgeon,” said Tamayo.

“We’ll see any child that has pain in their leg or their arm, or maybe even their hip or their back. We want to make sure that the parents get the care that they need [for their child], so we’d rather they come in, have the doctor take a look at them, and make them feel better.”

For more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children’s walk-in injury clinic, call 808-941-4466.

 Doctor and patient looking at X-ray