Almost every sport—with a few exceptions, like arm wrestling—demand at least some participation from the feet and ankles.
That’s a good thing, of course. The more we move our bodies, the better it is for our overall health! Unfortunately, we also must accept the fact that more activity means a higher chance of sports injuries to the feet and ankles.
Does this risk outweigh the benefits of physical activity? Definitely not; especially if you are taking the right approach to your workouts. But misfortunes can still happen, and they need to be treated promptly and effectively when they do.
What Qualifies as a Sports Injury?
Technically, any sort of injury that occurs during the course of physical activity might be classified as a “sports injury.” This leaves a rather wide and vague breadth of potential traumas, however, so we can categorize things a bit better.
We can put most sports injuries of the feet and ankles into two general boxes:
- Acute injuries, which happen when a sudden force causes damage. This can range from an impact breaking a bone, to a sudden twist causing a sprain.
- Overuse injuries, which happen when the body is forced to endure too much stress than it is currently conditioned to take on. This can happen over a very short period of time (such as putting the body under very heavy strain from a resting state) or over a longer period of time thanks to repetitive impacts against the feet (such as from running).
In both cases, you likely end up with pain and some interference in mobility. You will not be able to perform at full strength—or at least feel like you can’t. (And you should not be trying to!)
Some of the more common sports injuries we see in our office include:
- Ankle sprains
- Traumatic fractures (from toes to ankles)
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
There are many more, as there are plenty of moving parts in your foot and ankle in which trouble can take place. The key to any of these problems is responding to it properly.
What to Do About a Sports Injury
Before you even give us a call, the choices you make when you are feeling pain from a sports injury are very important to your recovery and prevention of long-term problems.
If you are feeling pain or discomfort during an activity, it is in your best interest to stop whatever is causing that pain immediately! Do not try to “push through” a game or workout; you are only risking further and more severe damage if you do.
If the pain is acute, such as a sprain or heavy bruise, wrap ice in a towel and ice the area for 15-20 minutes at a time, taking care not to damage your skin. It will also help with pain and swelling to keep the injured area above the level of your heart as often as possible.
Even if the pain is less severe but has been with you for a while now, it’s still worth giving us a call sooner rather than later!
The sooner a problem can be addressed, the faster and more effectively it tends to be resolved. It is also crucial that problems such as sprains heal properly as well. If they do not, the risks of ankle instability, future sprains, and arthritis can increase.
Once we perform a thorough evaluation of the problem, we will recommend a plan for quick but safe treatment. It may include:
- Continued rest and icing.
- Physical therapy, including stretches and exercises to better condition the area in question.
- MLS laser therapy to promote pain relief and faster recovery.
- Changes in footwear and/or workout plans to help prevent future injuries.
- The use of custom orthotics to take excess pressure and stress off vulnerable areas.
We understand that it can be very frustrating to have to undergo recovery when you have a season or goals to attend to, but you should never get back into activity until you are fully ready. We can help you find alternative, lower-impact activities to keep you moving in the meantime.
Get off the Sidelines
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from a sports injury—no matter how new or old it is—give us a call. We can help you find the best options for getting you back to full power as quickly and safely as possible.
Call our office at (415) 426-7771 to schedule an appointment. Our online contact form is also available for you at any time; simply fill it out and a member of our staff will respond to you during office hours.