Sports Injuries: Pain in the Game
An athlete’s most important tool isn’t his or her tennis racket, hockey stick, basketball, baseball mitt, helmet, or jersey. An athlete’s most important tool is his or her body. You need to be in good health and top shape to compete. When the body is out of commission because of sports injuries, it doesn’t matter how nice your gear is—you still can’t play well. Two of the areas most vulnerable to damage are the feet and ankles.
The Trouble with Sports
Your lower limbs take a pounding when you play sports, whether you do it just for fun or on a professional level—which means there are many ways to develop a sports injury. You apply force several times your own body weight when you push off the ground, and your feet have to be able to absorb the shock of your landing as well. Over time, the wear and tear from this can lead to damage. Also, painful accidents happen during both games and practices. Overuse and traumatic injuries can sideline you and result in chronic pain if you do not treat your lower limbs properly.
Overuse injuries result from repeated hard impacts or a sudden increase in your training that your body isn’t prepared for. These problems develop slowly over time as the damage compounds. The most common sports injuries we treat are heel injuries either to the bottom of the heel or to the back of the heel. Other common, soft-tissue conditions associated with sports injuries include
- Shin splints – a sharp pain on the front of the leg below the knee.
- Metatarsalgia – pain on the balls of the feet.
- Sesamoiditis – a sharp pain just behind the big toe.
These conditions must be differentiated from stress fractures, where repeated pressure to a bone can result in a spontaneous break without direct trauma. At Country Foot Care we have state-of-the-art diagnostic services in our offices to assist our well-trained doctors to identify and treat your injury.
Smaller problems, like ingrown toenails and blisters, are also painful and can actually lead to infections. Fortunately, these issues are also preventable if you protect your feet and address any pain before it becomes something serious.
Traumatic injuries are sharp, sudden accidents—perhaps a trip or a fall, a bad kick, or an incorrect landing from a jump. The force of the movement damages your body tissues and immediately affects your ability to continue your activity. Usually the discomfort is sharp and instant. Some common problems that result from direct injury and trauma include: broken bones (fractures), ankle sprains, Lisfranc Injury to the midfoot, Achilles tendon ruptures, plantar fascia tears and turf toe are all traumatic sports injuries.
Treating the Pain
How these problems are addressed largely depends on the severity of pain and the extent of the damage associated with the injury. You’ll need to have your lower limbs examined thoroughly. Our doctors will perform a thorough examination of the injury site, using in house, state-of-the-art diagnostic services to help create a treatment regimen that best suits the injury.
With most acute soft-tissue injuries, R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is employed to reduce swelling (edema) at the injury site. A comprehensive treatment plan created for each patient is then formulated. Here at Country Foot Care, we make extensive use of physical therapy and stretching exercises to alleviate pain and swelling as well as to strengthen the injury site. Custom orthotics are fabricated to correct the underlying biomechanical imbalance associated with the injury and to cushion the feet from the pounding associated with sports participation. Shockwave therapy, a non-invasive treatment for heel pain and other injuries, is also available in our offices.
No matter what condition you may have developed, you will need to take time to allow your body to repair itself. This may mean temporarily reducing your participation in sports, or taking a break from your activities all together. Once your injury is on the mend or heavily healed, Country Foot Care’s doctors will help structure a graduated workout schedule to ease you back into your sport.
No matter how it happens, sports injuries are painful and limiting. They can hold you back from doing what you love to do. The sooner you address your injury, however, the sooner you are able to recover and return to the game. If you are an athlete and have hurt your feet or ankles, contact Country Foot Care for an appointment or more information. For your convenience you can make an appointment by calling our locations during regular office hours or you can make an appointment online using the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page.