Okay, huddle up. If you play sports, you know that injuries can occur, sometimes from overuse, and other times from a sudden blow. Even the fanciest of shoes and top-of-the-line equipment can’t completely protect you. So if you run, jump, pivot, kick, or skate, here is a list of common sports injuries and tips on how to avoid or treat them. Know the symptoms and you can tackle the problem before it sidelines you for too long.
Send Ankle Sprains to the Showers
A sprain occurs when ligaments stretch beyond their limits and are no longer able to hold your bones in place. Severity can range from mild to serious, involving a total rupture and extreme instability. Expect pain and swelling, and possible immobility. This is typically a result of rolling an ankle on uneven surfaces or switching direction quickly.
You vs. Ankle Fractures
Fractures can vary from small cracks in your bones to all out breaks. One of the most common sports injuries, it is characterized by immediate throbbing pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. You may hear a snapping sound, and bearing weight could prove difficult. Sometimes overuse weakens the bone, so while it seems sudden, it may actually be evolving over time—an accident waiting to happen. Strong bones are key to this injury prevention. Just one more reason to drink your milk!
Play Book for Plantar Fasciitis
If you’re heel is hurting, at the top of the list of common culprits is plantar fasciitis. Usually this is an overuse injury to the connective tissues between your toes and heel, otherwise known as your plantar fascia. Repetitive stress on the area can cause inflammation and irritation where the tissues attach to your heel bone. This is especially painful after a period of rest, when the plantar fascia becomes tight.
Achilles Tendinitis: Tough to Kick
Most often seen in distance runners, Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, typically from continuous strain. This is signified by a gradual pain and stiffness, as well as tenderness to the touch. Left untreated, mobility becomes increasingly difficult, and the recovery process slows. Avoid hills and stairs at all costs!
Tackling Turf Toe
Despite its name, this can happen to any athlete on any surface. It’s basically a hyperextension of the big toe causing a sprain and damage to the joint. This typically occurs as a result of a short stop, when your body weight is moving forward, but your shoe is stuck behind. The big toe jams against the front of the shoe and the ground. You can expect pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. Don’t ignore it—it can lead to permanent problems with range-of-motion as well as arthritis.
Pro Treatment Plans
Rest! As hard as it may be, you have to take a break from your sport. With most sports injuries, continuing activity can cause further damage, and prolong recovery time. Ice helps with pain and inflammation, as does elevating your foot. Using athletic tape or elastic bandages will keep the injury compressed and swelling minimal. Physical therapy exercises can restore range-of-motion, muscle strength, and coordination. Injuries left untreated can become debilitating and keep you on the bench even longer. It’s best to visit Carolina Podiatry Group, Inc. where experts can evaluate your problem and start you on a treatment plan quickly.
Score with These Injury Prevention Tips
Not all injuries can be prevented, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Make sure you warm up adequately and that your shoes are in good shape, fit well, and are appropriate for your sport. If you intensify your training, do it gradually. Keep feet and ankles strong by incorporate strengthening exercises and stretches into your routine.
We want to keep you in the game, plain and simple. If you’re experiencing any aches and pains that are concerning, call (803) 285-1411 in Lancaster or (803) 548-FEET in Fort Mill, SC. Our expert team of Brandon Percival, DPM, Julie Percival, DPM, and William Harris IV, DPM are on your side!