Physical activity and fitness are important for humans of all ages, and especially growing children. There are so many benefits to physical activity. Unfortunately, there is also always a certain degree of injury risk as well. Feet and ankle injuries are particularly common, which makes sense because we often rely on our lower limbs when being active.
Foot and ankle injuries fall into two broad categories – acute and chronic. Acute injuries happen in response to a sudden, traumatic incident. An example of this is an infielder playing softball who misjudges a low, line drive and gets hit hard in the shinbone with the ball. Another would be a soccer player who has planted his or her cleats into the ground—while the rest of the athlete’s body continues to move forward over the planted foot—and sprains the big toe.
Conversely, chronic sports injuries have a gradual onset. They develop over time in response to an accumulation of forces on a specific area. Examples of these include basketball players who develop stress fractures from running on hard courts and runners who develop tendonitis in their Achilles tendon.
There are many numerous varieties of foot and ankle sports injuries, with some of the more common ones including:
- Ankle sprains. Even for non-athletes, these are common lower limb injuries. When the ligaments connecting the ankle bones are extended beyond their intended range of motion, the resulting injury is called a sprain. In (and out of) sports, it’s relatively easy for an ankle to twist, turn, or roll in an abnormal fashion, which explains why the condition is so common.
- Achilles tendinitis. Too much high-impact activity, or sudden increases in intensity, leads to problems for the Achilles tendon. This injury is marked by pain in the back of the heel during and following activity.
- Fractures. Sports involving solid objects (baseball bats, hockey sticks, balls, pucks) and hard surfaces come with a certain degree of risk for broken foot and ankle bones.
- Stress fractures. Unlike other breaks, stress fractures are surface level cracks in bone that typically develop in response to overuse.
- Turf toe. In the earlier example of the soccer player, his big toe sprain is actually a case of turf toe. Many fans recognize the term because it can keep favorite athletes out of action for some time.
The important thing to remember when it comes to foot and ankle sports injuries is that they need to be properly healed before you get back to action. Remember, the pain you experience is actually your body’s way of letting you know you need to rest. Of course, it’s also a sign that you should come see us here at our Berkeley, CA office!
We provide comprehensive care for lower limb problems, so call (510) 647-3744 if you are ever in need of professional treatment and we will be glad to help.