Participating in sports is an excellent way to have fun and stay fit, but it can also result in a wide range of injuries. These sports injuries can range from minor and treatable to major and life-threatening.
You need to learn about the symptoms, how to identify them, and the proper treatment for these foot and ankle sports injuries to know how to avoid, but also recover from them should they occur.
There are two major types of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries typically happen suddenly but are usually short-term (i.e., less than a week). On the other hand, chronic injuries build up over time—and they can develop into long-term problems if not treated properly.
Common Types of Ankle and Foot Sports Injuries
The most common types of foot and ankle injuries that we see regularly include:
- Ankle Sprains: When you sprain your ankle, ligaments in your foot or ankle become stretched or torn. This is often caused by rolling your ankle too far to one side or stepping awkwardly off a curb. Pain, swelling, and bruising are common symptoms of a sprained ankle.
- Fractures: A fracture occurs when an actual break in your bone causes it to splinter into pieces. If not treated immediately, fractures can cause permanent damage such as deformity or disability, so it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have fractured a bone in your foot or ankle.
- Dislocations: When bones are dislocated, they move out of their normal position within joints. The most common type of dislocation is a lateral ankle sprain, which occurs when ligaments on one side of your ankle are stretched beyond their limit and tear away from the tibia (shinbone).
- Achilles Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of tendons caused by overuse. The most common form we treat is Achilles tendinitis. However, tendinitis can occur in any joint with excessive movement.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Like tendinitis, fasciitis is an inflammation of a tendon due to overuse or direct trauma. Plantar fasciitis is the most common form that we treat.
- Heel Spurs: A heel spur is a small growth that forms on your heel bone due to inflammation in your Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscles to your heel bone.
Treatment Options for Sports Injuries
RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is the first step in treating ankle or foot injuries. Resting your foot or ankle to reduce inflammation, applying an ice pack to reduce swelling and bruising, wrapping it with an elastic bandage to promote healing, and elevating it to prevent swelling are all part of the treatment.
There are many options for treatment, depending on how bad your foot or ankle injury is. If you simply twisted your ankle, it might be enough to ice it and stay off it for a couple of days.
But if you think you may have sprained or torn something, seek medical treatment right away—the sooner you can get proper treatment, such as putting on a brace or crutches, rest, or surgery, the better chance you will have of recovery without problems later on.
While an impact injury often causes ankle sprains, it is also possible to sprain your feet or ankle simply from overstretching or overusing it. Injury rates tend to be higher among athletes who participate in running, jumping, basketball, soccer, and football.
Any sport that requires quick direction changes can pose a risk for injuries. That is why people who participate in these sports need to pay attention to what kinds of activities their feet will be exposed to during a game or practice.
As in many areas of life, prevention is vital for sports injuries. A proper warm-up and cool-down will help stretch and strengthen your muscles, reducing your chances of developing a strain or sprain.
It is also essential to choose proper footwear that supports your foot—especially when participating in high-impact sports like running or basketball.
Need Help with Treating Sports Injuries?
We understand that having to miss work to treat a sports injury can be inconvenient, but taking care of your feet and ankles can help ensure that you can keep moving for a long time.
Call us or fill out our online form to make an appointment at our Berkeley location today and let us get you started on the best treatment plan for your foot or ankle injuries!