Sports Injuries in the Foot and Ankle
Young or Old—Sports Injuries Happen
Playing sports has so many advantages. It is a source of fun and friendly competition with others that helps you test and improve your physical abilities and builds character by working toward goals and handling disappointment. It also comes with at least one disadvantage: when you play you increase your risk for sports injuries.
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries in Sports
We call them sports injuries when they are a direct result of training or competing, but many of the problems you encounter can happen during normal life activities, too. Fractures can happen from something landing on your feet, tendinitis from repetitive motions at work, and scrapes and wounds from construction. Even an office worker can sprain an ankle walking down steps, so no activity is completely risk free!
Acute or Overuse?
Some injuries like a broken bone or torn tendon happen in a moment from extreme stress. You can easily pinpoint the activity that causes the injury. You may even hear a snap or pop and feel immediate pain. It will usually be bad enough for you to seek help right away.
Other injuries happen gradually. Heel pain from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis is an example. You might feel a twinge that goes away but comes back again during activity or after a period of rest. You are less likely to seek help for it, since it comes and goes. However, it keeps getting worse, until one day you wake up and feel a sharp stabbing pain under your heel with your first steps of the day, or a tender, aching feeling behind your ankle after a game or workout. No one event caused it, just the accumulation of lots of little traumas over a long period of time.
No Part of Your Body is Risk Free
Specific sports make you more prone to certain types of injuries—you can check them out in the list below. Sports injuries can involve any of the basic tissues in your body:
- Bones can be bruised or broken, both hairline surface cracks called stress fractures (from overuse) and breaks (acute) that separate a bone into two or more pieces.
- Ligaments and tendons can be overstretched or partially or completely torn, usually resulting in pain, inflammation and swelling (think achilles tendon ruptures, ankle sprains, tendinitis).
- Muscles can be pulled or strained, causing tears in the fibers that result in stiffness and pain.
- Nerves can be pinched when overuse narrows the spaces they run through. Damaged nerves cause pain or numbness and lack of sensation.
- Blood vessels can be damaged from impact, leading to pooling of blood (under the nail, as in black toenail) or bruising (blue, red or purple coloration from bleeding under the skin).
- Skin can be cut or scraped during falls or collisions with other objects. Road rash or splits in the skin from a fall are common skin injuries, as is sunburn from lengthy exposure.
Help for Sports Injuries in Mission Viejo, CA
At Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists we see and treat many sports injuries, and we try to deal with these through conservative treatment such as rest, icing, elevating the limbs, medication, physical therapy, and custom orthotics. However, with displaced fractures and torn tendons, some will require surgical intervention.
If you injure your feet or ankles during play—or at any other time—call our office at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) and come in to have us check it out. We will provide caring, professional treatment to get you back in the game as soon as it is safe to play again.