Foot and ankle sports injuries often occur through missteps or overuse. Running on uneven terrain or stepping into a small hole can twist an ankle or stress your foot, which can lead to further injury. Insufficient stretching, poor training, and overuse can all put extra stress or strain on the foot leaving an athlete at risk for injury. Wearing the appropriate shoes for each specific sport also plays a role in sports injuries. It is important to note that sports injuries not only affect athletes, but also afflict weekend warriors. Not engaging in activity all week and then bursting into high gear on the weekend can cause serious injury when the body is pushed so hard.
- Ankle sprains — This injury occurs when your tendon or ligament stretches beyond its normal bounds. This causes the tissue to tear and will result in swelling, pain, and can cause you to be off your feet for several weeks.
- Stress Fracture — Another condition that affects athletes is stress fractures. A stress fracture is similar to a hairline crack in your bone. It develops through repeated force and pressure. This occurs especially when you have been out of shape for some time and quickly start a rigorous exercise program. You may experience pain and swelling in the injured area.
- Plantar Fasciitis — It’s very common for athletes to develop plantar fasciitis, which is an injury to the muscles in the arch and middle of your heel area. It tends to develop more if you are overweight and putting too much force on your feet when running and jumping. Plantar fasciitis is more common if you have flat feet or do a lot of standing and walking throughout the day. Symptoms include pain in the bottom of your heel, pain in the middle of your arch when standing and getting out of bed, a car, or up from the dinner table. The pain is often described as feeling like a nail stabbing in the bottom of your heel.
- Achilles tendonitis — You may have a strain or pull on your lower leg muscle that leads to a small tear, which can also become progressively worse over time. It occurs where the muscles of the lower leg attach to your heel bone and can be quite painful. It can lead to swelling and pain when walking. Tiptoeing is usually difficult and painful when pressing on the area behind your heel.
We treat these symptoms with physical therapy, icing, stretching, massage therapy, and orthotic devices placed in your shoes. We try every treatment option available to avoid surgery so you can quickly continue with your athletic activities.
How can you prevent sports injuries?
Education is the most important way to prevent injuries. We always review the activity level and type of training in which our athletic patients participate. We also instruct our patients on the importance of sufficient and complete physical training, which involves stretching and massage to prevent the possibility of tearing or pulling muscles. We stress the importance of using the correct shoe size and style for their athletic activity. It is important to always make sure when you begin a sports activity, to have your foot measured at a reputable sports shoe store. The staff is trained to help you choose the most appropriate shoe for each specific sport or activity.
Roughly 90% of basketball players in the NBA have some type of shoe insert or orthotic device in their shoes. That doesn’t mean that 90% of them have flat feet or foot problems. These orthotics help improve shock absorption and foot function, while decreasing the chance of injuries.