Sports related injuries are very common amongst adolescents and young individuals; however, they occur in all ages. If not treated appropriately, long lasting affects can develop including arthritis, pain, swelling, and difficulty walking and running over time. Probably the most common sports injuries involving the foot and ankle are sprains and fractures.
Turf toe or sprains of the great toe joint are common injuries sustained while running and pivoting off of the great toe. The toe is hyper extended leading to ligament damage and instability to the toe. Individuals experiencing these injuries have a difficult time running and pushing off their foot without experiencing pain and weakness. Rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and protective shoes can help aid in the recovery from an injury like this. Additionally, custom orthotics that can help to limit the motion at the great toe joint can also help reduce the pain associated with a turf toe type injury.
Ankle sprains are very common as the foot rapidly inverts or twist inwards toward the body, resulting in instant pain, swelling, and an inability to continue with activities. The typical ankle sprain involves the rupture of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The ligaments are important for maintaining strength and stability to the ankle and these physical abilities are altered after such injury. If the force of the sprain is so great, an ankle fracture can occur, which involves not only ligamentous damage, but also broken bones of the two leg bones; the tibia and the fibula.
Treatment for an ankle sprain includes rest, ices, elevation and weight bearing as tolerated on the foot. If there is indeed fracture or severe pain that does not improve, complete non-weight bearing may be instituted in a protective cast or boot. Surgery is an option if there is significant displacement of the bones or instability to the ankle after a bad sprain.
Other common sports related injuries include tendon ruptures, tendon tears, general tendonitis, and stress fractures. These can sometimes be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories, and even cortisone injections; however, protective braces such as an ankle brace or foot orthosis may be important to stabilize and protect your foot in cases of stress fractures or severe tendon damage.
In some cases it may be required to obtain further studies such as an MRI or CT scan to further evaluate the integrity of the bones or soft tissue. If it has been determined that there is a tendon tear or rupture, as is the case many times with the Achilles tendon, surgical options are available to help facilitate patient healing.
If sports injuries are overlooked, or if treatment is postponed, long-term damage can result, including weakness and instability, arthritis, cartilage damage, and long-term pain. This can alter your ability to walk or run normal or without pain. If you have experienced a traumatic injury, secondary to a sporting activity, call today to see one of our specialists.