Some Common Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries (and What You Should Do About Them)
If you want to stay active and healthy for as long as possible, there are some things you simply must do:
- You need to eat well
- You need to drink plenty of water
- You need to get enough sleep at night
Of course, you also need to engage in regular physical activity – humans are simply meant to move.
But here’s the catch:
Though we all know that leading a sedentary lifestyle is obviously bad for your health, all physical activity also comes with a certain degree of injury risk. And since we rely on our feet and ankles for mobility, lower limb injuries tend to be quite common.
So what should you do to stay healthy and steer clear from painful injuries? Well, becoming a couch-potato is definitely not the answer! And the good news is foot and ankle sports injuries can often be successfully treated without surgery. Even better – preventative measures can greatly reduce injury risk in the first place.
Understanding Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
Foot and ankle sports injuries come in two different forms – acute and chronic.
The key distinction between the two is how the injury happens. In the case of an acute injury, the damage is sustained from a single incident. Chronic injuries, by contrast, develop over time and can often be attributed to “overuse.” This kind of injury takes time to emerge and isn’t always immediately noticeable.
Some of the most common foot and ankle sports injuries we treat at our office (both acute and chronic) include:
- Ankle sprains
- Heel pain
- Shin splints
- Turf toe
The truth is we could go on forever – given the intricate anatomy of the foot and ankle, there are many other potential issues that can arise.
Whether your injury is acute or chronic, you can count on our team of experts to get you back on your feet and doing the things you love to do. We will evaluate the extent of your injury, and then create a treatment plan to resolve it for you.
Treating Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
The initial treatment for an injury sustained during physical activity is usually first aid.
In fact, RICE therapy is a great way to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and give damaged body tissue the opportunity to heal. Whenever you suspect you have suffered an injury, stop what you are doing, give your feet time to rest by keeping them elevated above heart level, apply ice, and compress the area with a soft elastic bandage.
Now, it’s important that you also seek professional evaluation and treatment. Once you come to our office, we will be able to determine an accurate diagnosis and provide the best treatment option for your specific case.
Depending on what we find, we may recommend one (or more) of the treatment options below:
- Custom orthotics therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Corticosteroid injection therapy
- Physical therapy
Surgery is rarely necessary for most foot and ankle injuries, though it may be preferred for certain severe conditions (such as tendon ruptures). To be sure, we will always exhaust all other treatment options before considering a surgical approach. But if conservative treatment is not providing the relief you need or if we determine your injury is too severe to respond to these non-invasive methods, then we can start discussing the possibility of surgery.
Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries
Of course, we would love to help you overcome foot and ankle injuries. But even better than that is helping you prevent these painful setbacks in the first place. So here are some things you can do to protect your feet while you exercise:
- Ease into activity. If you are just starting a new exercise program, are going to play basketball or tennis regularly with friends, or have recently signed up for a recreational sporting league, it’s best not to jump right into the activity at full blast. Instead, start at a moderate level and gradually ramp up your efforts.
- Wear appropriate shoes. Making sure you have the correct shoes for the activity you perform is absolutely essential. Shoes should be neither too small nor too big. You also need to make sure your footwear provides plenty of arch support, heel cushioning, and protection.
- Warm up and stretch first. Always take about 5-10 minutes to do some brisk walking or light jogging before your game, practice, or workout session. After the warmup, use some dynamic stretches to get your body ready for action.
- Do some cross-training. Instead of running six days a week, consider running on alternate days and using low-impact activities between them. Cycling, swimming, yoga, and even simply walking are all great options to reduce stress on your body.
Finding the Help You Need to Get Back in the Game
We hope you are able to stay safe while exercising and playing your favorite sports. Though preventative measures will certainly lower your risk of suffering from common foot and ankle injuries, it’s important to keep in mind that it is virtually impossible to eliminate all of the risk.
So if you become injured, don’t hesitate to request an appointment at our office. All you have to do is give us a call at (916) 961-3434 today, or simply fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.