Not only does playing sports require a lot of physical energy, but it also can be a lot of fun and make for a great way to socialize, build relationships, and compete with others. However, with any physical activity, there is a certain degree of risk involved.
The bottom line is that sports injuries happen. Since many sports require you to be running and using your feet and ankles, they are especially at risk for injuries.
It is important to understand these risks and how you can prevent them from happening. It is also important to understand how to seek treatment if you ever find yourself dealing with an injury.
Causes of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries to the feet and ankles can be easily placed into two categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are those that originate from a sudden force or impact. Overuse injuries are injuries that develop on account of repetition or overuse.
An acute injury is often caused by a sudden hit or an excessive amount of force applied to an area that is only designed to move or stretch so far. This type of injury is caused by a tackle or collision.
Common acute injuries include:
- Ankle Sprains – A sprain occurs when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are overextended or torn. This can happen when the ankle is forced to rotate over its normal range of motion. When a muscle or tendon suffers a similar injury, it is referred to as a strain.
- Fractures – A break in a bone, often caused by a high impact. The toes and ankles often bear the brunt of fractures, but any bone can realistically suffer a break.
- Turf Toe – This is a sprain at the joint at the base of the big toe, often suffered when the toe is forcefully bent upward. It gets its name for the frequency it happens in field sports, especially when someone is wearing cleats and their foot gets planted in a fixed position against the ground.
An overuse injury happens when part of the body is exposed to repetitive forces or worked too hard or too quickly without proper conditioning beforehand.
Common overuse injuries include:
- Stress Fractures – Unlike a standard fracture, a stress fracture is a small crack along the surface of the bone. Continuing to apply force to the bone often results in pain and can make the cracks worse over time.
- Achilles Tendinitis – The tendons that run down the back of the lower leg can become inflamed after a sudden increase in repeated activity. This can create tiny tears in the tendon, which can become progressively worse and cause heel pain without treatment or recovery.
- Morton’s Neuroma – This is a thickening of nerve tissue at the ball of the foot that is common among runners. The repeated pounding of the feet against hard surfaces can cause irritation and compression of the nerve, leading to sensations of pain, tingling, or numbness.
- Black Toenail – Another condition often seen among runners, is a collection of blood beneath a toenail often caused by the repetitive striking of the nail against the inside of a shoe. The discoloration can be accompanied by a throbbing pain, and sometimes the toenail will fall off.
Sports Injury Treatment and Prevention
Treatment for most sports injuries starts with a reduction in activity. Expect to have a complete rest from almost any physical activity until the injury has had a chance to heal and fully recover.
Physical therapy may also be recommended in some cases to help recondition the affected area and avoid re-injury.
The best treatment for sports injuries is to avoid them in the first place.
It is important to remember that when starting a new activity, start slowly until you gradually work yourself up over a course of time until you reach your desired level. Be careful!
Going too hard too fast can place a bunch of strain on your body before it has been properly conditioned, this can result in injury. Also, it is very important to always use the right equipment for the activity, and always listen to your body: if something starts to hurt, don’t “walk it off.” Instead, stop and rest.
Professional Foot and Ankle Sports Injury Treatment
We hope that you can use preventative measures to keep you safe from injury, though we understand that injuries do happen.
Contact McVay Foot & Ankle to receive the effective care you need. We will start with conservative treatment options, but take comfort in the fact that we also perform successful surgical procedures when needed. Call us today at (719) 266-5000 to connect with our Colorado Springs office.
Get Our Running Guide Today!
In our guide, you’ll learn more about:
- The benefits of a well-planned running routine
- When you should see a doctor if you have concerns or an injury
- How fast you should progress
- The best shoes to get for your feet
- The best food for recovery
Inside, you’ll also receive a running calendar that can help you get started for a 5K run!