Common Foot And Ankle Injuries Among Athletes And How To Prevent Them
As an athlete, you’re accustomed to getting sports-related injuries. It happens so frequently that you may not immediately address every problem. However, when you experience sudden pain and discomfort in your foot or ankle, it’s important to see a specialist to determine the cause and get the right treatment. In some cases, your injury may even require physical therapy services. When you have a foot injury, contact Marion County Podiatry Specialists for the highest quality foot and ankle care. The following are common injuries you may sustain as an athlete and how to prevent them.
When you suffer from a sprain in the joint of the big toe, this is known as turf toe. Turf toe is often caused by excessive movement in one direction, generally bending the toe upward to run or jump. It is common among all athletes but affects football players the most. The best way to prevent turf toe is to wear shoes that provide better support. This will keep the joint from bending excessively.
Another method to prevent turf toe is to wear specially designed inserts, which can be provided by your doctor or physical therapist. Turf toe can be very painful. Symptoms can come on suddenly and instead of going away, it generally worsens with time. As a result, if you experience severe pain in the large toe, seek treatment before the pain worsens. Treatment can be simple as rest, ice, compression, and elevation, but if allowed to worsen, it can result in surgery.
If you feel a dull ache in your foot or ankle that intensifies whenever you apply pressure to that area, you may be experiencing a stress fracture. Also known as fatigue fractures, this typically occurs among athletes who run and jump on hard surfaces, such as gymnasts and basketball players.
Depending on the nature of the sport you play, it may be impossible to avoid stress fractures altogether. However, you can help prevent them by consuming plenty of vitamins and minerals for bone health, staying in shape, wearing supportive shoes, balance training, and physical therapy. When you experience a stress fracture, don’t overdo it. Give yourself enough rest to recover and then gradually get back into training.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Pain and numbness in the heel and base of the foot is a common symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome. The tarsal tunnel is a space in the foot formed by bones and fibrous tissues. Within the tarsal tunnel is a nerve called the posterior tibial nerve. When the nerve is compressed, this leads to the numbness and pain you eventually feel in the foot and ankle.
It is difficult to determine what exactly causes TTS, but it can be avoided by warming up before a workout and being consistent with strength training activities. It is important to seek treatment immediately, as ignoring the problem can lead to permanent nerve damage. The good news is treatment is generally as simple as applying ice to the affected area, taking NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, and resting. You may also consider using different footwear, such as orthotics.
Irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle is generally the result of a tendon tear. Also known as Achilles tendonitis, it commonly occurs among athletes who are less flexible or have lost flexibility, like middle-aged athletes. It can be prevented in several ways, including:
- Stretch to improve flexibility
- Avoid running on hard surfaces
- Wear shoes with cushioned heels
- Gradually change your exercise training schedule
- Vary exercises to avoid activities that put excessive stress on the tendon
Pain can be severe, so it’s important not to ignore the problem when you first experience it. Treat it with plenty of rest and ice. If that does not help, you may need to consider taking medication or an injection in more serious cases.
Visit Marion County Podiatry Specialists
Don’t ignore your sports injuries. Go to a specialist to get treated before the injury worsens. Our team will work to provide you with the best podiatric care. For physical therapy services in Ocala, FL, contact Marion County Podiatrists. Call (352) 873-3332 to speak with an experienced specialist.