Foot and ankle injuries are prevalent in sports, especially those that involve a great deal of running or potential trauma to the legs such as soccer, basketball, hockey, or rugby. While there are many different types of injuries that can occur due to strain or contact, here are the most common in sports medicine:
An ankle sprain occurs when the foot is twisted either too far inward or too far outward, damaging the ligament. Most sprains cause only a moderate amount of damage and pain and can be healed through the R.I.C.E. method–rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Sprained ankles are common in sports where a quick pivot is necessary, such as turning on a dime to intercept a ball carrier in football. Strengthening the core and leg muscles and ensuring the use of supportive footwear can help prevent sprains. If an athlete is prone to having “weak ankles,” they can also wear a brace to stabilize the ligaments.
Achilles tendinitis is a cumulative injury that occurs due to overuse of the Achilles tendon. The tendon becomes inflamed, causing sharp pain along the back of the foot. This condition happens gradually over time as the tendon wears down after continued use. Most often the onset of pain happens when an exercise routine becomes even more active, such as in various sports training camps.
In many cases, cortisone steroid injections will help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. It is recommended that the patient decrease their exercise and rest the affected foot whenever possible. Physical therapy can often be helpful as well, allowing the tendon to stretch so that it’s more resilient and resistant to injury.
Common in sports with a lot of repetitive motion such as basketball or tennis, stress fractures are not breaks of the bone, but rather cracks caused by repeated impact. Poor conditioning and improper equipment can create a situation where the foot or ankle are not getting the support they need, and the resulting fracture only compounds the problem with pain and swelling of the affected area.
Athletes should take care to wear supportive foot or ankle braces to help reduce the impact to vulnerable bones. Acknowledging pain and taking days to rest the foot can help prevent most stress fractures.
When you’re involved in sports, it’s important to know your body’s limits and respect them. If you’re experiencing pain in your foot or ankle, notify your doctor and rest the affected area as much as possible. Doing so should help you avoid some of the most common sports injuries.
If you need to see an orthopedic expert, contact G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Our foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Anson Chu, provides diagnosis and treatment of all types of injuries. With 2 convenient locations in the Richmond Va area, G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is a great choice for your orthopedic treatment needs.