With everything your feet have to endure as you train for upcoming running events or to dunk on your competitors on the basketball court, it's no surprise that foot and ankle injuries can, and do, happen from time to time. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate this risk. When you push your body to its limits, there's always a potential for painful setbacks.
Fortunately, there's good news: You can (and absolutely should) take measures to protect your feet and ankles and prevent sports injuries from throwing you off your game. When and if an injury does occur, you can count on Advanced Foot Care to provide the treatments you need to recover quickly and safely.
Common Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries We Treat
Typical foot and ankle sports injuries we treat at our office include:
- Plantar fasciitis. A common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis happens when the thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot becomes overused, irritated, and inflamed. The band pulls on the heel bone and causes pain, especially when rising after periods of rest.
- Achilles tendonitis. This condition develops when the strongest tendon in the body—the Achilles tendon—endures repetitive stress and becomes overused. The tendon will then become angry and inflamed, causing pain in the back of the heel or ankle.
- Ankle sprains. A very common injury, ankle sprains occur when ligaments supporting the ankle joint stretch beyond their intended range of motion and partially tear or completely rupture. When not treated properly, they are no longer able to provide stability to the ankle, making it prone to repeated injury.
- Fractures. These are cracks or complete breaks in the bones that can take many forms. The most severe types involve breaking the skin (open fracture) or altering the position of the bones. More subtle are stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone surface usually caused by overuse. The most common fractures involve the toes and the metatarsal bones just behind them. Fractures also come in varying degrees, some of which require prompt care. So if one is suspected, it should be evaluated as soon as possible.
- Turf toe. Turf toe happens when the toe (usually the big toe) is planted, but the rest of the foot continues to move forward with force, causing the toe joint to move beyond its intended range of motion. This results in a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the base of the toe.
Of course, there are many other possible sports injuries one can experience, like Sever's disease (a common cause of heel pain in children) and Achilles tendon ruptures. The above conditions tend to be the most common injuries to befall athletes and weekend warriors alike.
Getting Back in the Game
You've probably heard the saying, "no pain, no gain," but the truth of the matter is that pain absolutely does not mean gain. In fact, if you continue to bear weight or put stress on an injured foot, the chances are good that the problem will only get worse over time, take longer to heal, and potentially lead to other, more severe injuries.
No matter what injury you may have sustained, you should never push through the pain. If you suspect you have developed any type of injury while being active, your best course of action is to stop what you are doing and address the problem immediately. Pain is not normal; it's your body's way of communicating that something is wrong. When you feel pain, stop and take the following steps:
- Use ICE (ice, compress, elevate) therapy. Give your feet time to rest and recover. Ice the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, compress the foot with an elastic bandage or wrap, and elevate the injured foot above heart level.
- Take OTC medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen, will help reduce swelling and discomfort. (Do not take such medications if you have been previously instructed by your physician to avoid them.)
- Contact our office. If the injury does not require immediate care, contact our office to make an appointment. (For emergency treatment, call 911, or visit your local urgent care or ER, and follow up with us afterward.) We'll evaluate your condition in order to determine its severity and whether any additional treatments are necessary.
Offering Conservative Treatments and Advanced Therapies
At Advanced Foot Care, we are proud to offer many treatment options for foot and ankle sports injuries, including advanced treatments like MLS laser therapy for those of you who want to speed up your recovery period, as well as custom orthotic devices for patients who need to correct underlying biomechanical deficiencies.
We will likely also recommend that you incorporate some healthy foot care habits into your daily workout routine, including changes in footwear and properly warming up and stretching before activity. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a sports injury. If we believe surgery is the best option for you, we will discuss exactly what surgery will look like so you can move forward with treatment feeling confident.
Don't Let a Sports Injury Keep You Sidelined
Whether you suffered an ankle sprain or your heels complain every time you get moving, do something about it today. The sooner you get the treatment you need, the easier it will be for us to get you back to doing the activities you love most. Fill out our contact form or call our office at (281) 292-7000 to schedule an appointment.