No matter what sport you play, or type of exercise you enjoy, you depend on your feet. They need the strength, coordination, and freedom from pain to run, jump, land, turn, pivot, twist, kick, and dance. When something goes wrong, it not only costs you performance, but it can keep you on the sidelines, indefinitely.
Most athletes are all too eager to get back on the field, and sometimes return too soon or neglect proper care for a sports injury. Unfortunately, this often only makes the problem worse. At Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists, our doctors understand your passion and your frustration, and our team is dedicated to helping you heal, fully and completely, as quickly as possible.
Common Foot & Ankle Sports Injuries
Some of the common types of sports injuries we treat most frequently include:
- Sprains. These injuries involve damage to ligaments, fibrous tissues that hold bones together at a joint. Common locations include the ankle and the base of the big toe (turf toe).
- Strains. While sprains involve tearing in ligaments, strains (or pulls) are tears in muscle fibers. Calf strains and damage to muscle fibers surrounding the tibia bone (shin splints) are especially common for high-impact athletes such as dancers, runners, or soccer players,
- Fractures. Broken bones come in many varieties, from hairline cracks (stress fractures) to more serious breaks where bones become misaligned, shatter, or even break the skin.
Getting the Right Treatment Plan
Most foot and ankle sports injuries can be treated conservatively—without surgery—but that doesn’t mean you should wait until you can barely walk to seek help. By scheduling an appointment at the first sign of trouble, you maximize your chances of a quick return to full health and full activity.
The moment the injury happens, you should pursue first aid. If a fracture has broken the skin or pain is extreme, don’t take risks: call 9/11. Otherwise, pursue RICE therapy—that’s rest, ice, compression, and elevation—and make an appointment with our office as quickly as possible.
At our office, we have all the diagnostic tools to diagnose a sports injury and offer advanced, comprehensive care options. We’ll treat you conservatively if we can (through use of options such as immobilization and physical therapy), but we also specialize in the surgical repair of all foot and ankle fractures, including ones that are complex and extensive. In each case, our goal is to get you fully healed as quickly as possible so you can return to favorite activities without pain or restriction.
Play It Smart to Avoid and Prevent Sports Injuries
If you play hard, there’s always a risk of injury. Perfect prevention is impossible. However, you can significantly reduce your risk by making smart choices about how you play and train.
- Wear appropriate shoes. That means your shoes fit right for your foot size and shape, are designed for the specific activity you’ll be performing (running shoes, basketball shoes, cross-trainers, etc.), and are in good repair. Replace old shoes and consider custom orthotics for sports if chronic pain continues.
- Condition yourself properly. Don’t jump into a new sport with reckless abandon, or ramp up your running mileage rapidly. Build slowly toward new goals, giving your body a time to condition and adjust.
- Cross train. If you’re exclusively participating in high-impact endeavors, your feet never get a break. Make sure you take appropriate rest days and cross train in less foot-intense activities like weightlifting, cycling, swimming, or even just walking.
- Listen to your body. Yes, vigorous exercise will stretch you physically, but you should never try to push through pain. If certain activities are leaving you wincing and hobbling, it’s time to see the doctor. There may be treatment options, or even simple behavior or equipment modifications, that can help you eliminate the pain.
Let Us Get You Back in the Game
When sports injury pain strikes your feet, ankles, or lower legs, trust your care and rehabilitation to the team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona. We are passionate about helping you get better so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle, unencumbered by pain. To schedule your appointment with us in Gilbert or Chandler, AZ, please call (480) 963-9000. You can also request a time by completing our online contact form.