Playing sports is a great way to be active, enjoy time with friends and get some fresh air. But unfortunately, accidents and injuries can arise quite easily. In some sports feet and ankles commonly take the brunt of these injuries. Typically, sports injuries happen when abnormal movement of the foot or ankle occur. Soft tissue damage and biomechanical dysfunction are the usual results of sport-related injuries.
Common Foot-Related Sports Injuries
Although foot and ankle injuries can occur from any number of sports-related activities, here are a few of the most common foot-related sports injuries.
- Achilles Tendinitis -Achilles tendinitis is a condition that affects the largest tendon in your body, your Achilles tendon. This common injury generally occurs from overuse, degeneration of the tendon or the wearing down of the tendon due to age.
- Plantar Fasciitis -This condition can arise when the band of tissues known as the plantar fascia, which supports the arch of your foot, absorbs too much stress. Activities like running can cause these bands to become inflamed.
- Stress Fractures -Many athletes who participate in activities like running, basketball, tennis, dance, or gymnastics are typically at a higher risk for stress fractures due to the repetitive stress that is put on their feet and ankles. Unlike an open fracture, which is a full breaking of the bone and the fracture is exposed through the skin, a stress fracture is a small fracture in the bone, but the bones did not separate.
- Neuroma-Neuroma is a condition involving a pinched nerve in your foot. Symptoms of neuroma can include pain, numbness, or tingling in the ball of your foot. Anyone can get a neuroma, but you may be more prone to it if you:
- Have flat feet
- Have high arches in your feet
- Wear improper shoes or boots
- Have experienced previous trauma to the foot
- Overuse or put repeated stress on your feet
- Ankle Sprain -An ankle sprain can vary in its severity, typically graded as I, II, or III, and the level of pain and discomfort will generally correspond to the grade of injury. Grade I and II can often be managed with rest, icing, compression and physiotherapy. Ultrasound can also be particularly beneficial. Grade III injuries typically require a surgical repair.
Preventing Sport-Related Foot Injuries
Accidents happen, and some injuries cannot be prevented. Still, there are a few ways to help reduce your chances of suffering an injury to your feet and ankles while enjoying the sports you love:
- Misaligned feet are the number 1 cause for sports injury. Your feet are the foundation for your body. When your feet are misaligned, the muscles and joints cannot accommodate or distribute the forces correctly. As a result, this will result in tissue damage and/or fractures. Correct alignment is fundamental in preventing injury.
- Always stretch and warm-up. Before any workout, game, or performance, stretch out your calves, as this can help protect your feet and ankles from an injury. Jogging in place for a few minutes is also a great warmup exercise you can do.
- Slowly condition your muscles. Never jump into something quickly. Allow your body to adapt to whatever exercise or activity you’re doing. Let your body get used to the motions of what you’re doing and gradually build up strength in your calves, feet and ankles.
- Wear the right shoes. Research the best footwear for whatever activity you’re doing. For most activities and sports that involve running, you want a high-quality shoe that fits the contours of your feet and has the right arch support. If you run often, your shoes should be replaced every 500 to 800 kilometers so they provide proper support. Athletic shoes are generally categorized as “neutral”, “stability” and “motion control”. Depending on your foot type will dictate what type of shoes is best for your foot.
Contact the dedicated chiropodists at Medical Foot Solutions today if you’re suffering from a sports-related injury. We'll help you understand your treatment options and get you back to the sport you love as quickly as possible!