As the fall season comes around again sports, and sports injuries, become a fact of life. Football is in full swing and soon basketball, volleyball and hockey will also be going on at schools, colleges, in fun leagues and at the professional level all across the country.
Foot and ankle sports injuries are very common. While in the professional leagues you may hear a lot about knee injuries such as ACL and MCL injuries, foot and ankle issues such as sprains, strains, fractures and Achilles tendon problems are just as problematic. The biggest issue for parents, athletes and even just causal players is to have a podiatrist look at any foot or ankle injuries when it occurs. Too often people just assume it is a sprain or strain and take a few days off practice, resulting in further short and long term damage with repeated trauma.
Ankle Sprains in Sports
Any time you have kids or adults running, changing directions rapidly or jumping you have the chance of spraining the ankle. A sprain is actually a tear or injury to a ligament that holds the ankle joint and allows it to move. It is important to verify that what appears to be an ankle sprain is not actually a fracture of the bones of the ankle. Torn ligaments also need to completely heal, which takes more than a few days of rest. Typically physical rehab is recommended to not only allow the ligament to fully heal but also to strengthen the joint to prevent re-injury.
Pains in the heel or the arch of the foot may be a sign of plantar fasciitis, damage to the band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel. Without treatment this can become chronic pain and it may also result in the development of bone spurs.
The thick tendon that forms the back of your ankle and connects your lower leg to your ankle can be torn or injured very easily. Often repeated activities, such as jumping or running, can cause very small tears that become progressively worse over time. If untreated Achilles tendonitis can turn into Achilles tendonosis, which is a degeneration in the tendon that is permanent. Getting immediate attention for any foot pain, even without an injury or fall, is essential to long term foot health for any athlete.