People love sports. Athletic outlets are everywhere, from recreational Little League and backyard pick-up games to fully organized school and professional teams. These activities force you to get up, move around, and push to improve your skills. They can also put your feet and ankles at risk. Every season, no matter the activity, sports injuries put people on the bench.
Pain from the Game
The physical activity of sports can be great for your body, including your feet and ankles. Sports work your muscles and keep your feet fit. They also put incredible strain on your body, particularly your lower limbs, which absorb and support a significant amount of pressure. Sometimes the forces working on your feet and ankles can cause sports injuries. These fall into two categories: overuse or traumatic.
Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive motion wearing down and damaging the lower limbs. Sometimes the foot simply isn’t conditioned to be able to handle the strain. Other times biomechanical issues makes it difficult for the foot to function normally, increasing the strain on it. Over time, you feel a gradually increasing discomfort in your foot that starts to impair your ability to participate in your sport. This could include Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, black toenails, stress fractures, and a few other problems. Fortunately, conservative remedies tend to be successful. These sports injuries can actually be prevented, too, if you take steps to protect yourself before pain develops.
Traumatic injuries are sudden accidents. You can’t predicted them, so they aren’t necessarily preventable. You do something: trip, kick a ball incorrectly, or twist your foot as you land a jump. Then you experience sharp, instant pain from the damage. You need prompt intervention to allow these conditions to heal. Fractures, turf toe, ankle sprains, and tissue ruptures fit into this category. Usually these can be treated noninvasively as well, but some may need a procedure to realign displaced structures.
Repair and Recovery
Sports injuries can range from small and simple to painfully complex. You should have any condition you develop during—or as a result of—sports activities evaluated by specialists like Dr. David Laurino and Dr. Antonius Su. That way you can have your feet checked for complications and treat the discomfort you feel. Our team will thoroughly examine your feet and perform different tests to check your foot functions. We may also request diagnostic images to be able to see any damage. Then we can help you begin a path to healing.
Most painful problems from sports need a period of rest to allow you to recover. Most likely you’ll need to scale back your activities, or even take a break from your sport, to be able to heal. More severe injuries may need to be immobilized, so movement doesn’t continue to damage your lower limbs. Any swelling and inflammation will need to be addressed. Icing and compression may help with this. As your feet and ankles recover, you’ll need to recondition them to handle your activities. Physical therapy can help you regain your range of motion and rebuild your limb strength.
Heading off Trouble
If you can, it’s better for your feet—and your participation in your sports—to prevent problems before they occur as much as possible. Proper warm-up and conditioning can make a significant difference for preventing overuse injuries. Wearing the right shoes and replacing worn-out pairs can also help. Make sure you address any discomfort when you feel it, rather than putting it off.
Sports injuries can put a hole in your season and keep you warming the bench if you aren’t careful. You can’t always prevent accidents from happening, but you can avoid some simple problems and seek help when pain does manifest. Don’t wait and risk a worse problem developing later because you didn’t take care of your feet. Instead, contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for an appointment or more information. You can reach our two office locations by calling, faxing, or using the website contact page: for the Chandler location, call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375; for the Gilbert office (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229.