When you’re serious about your athletic performance, you don’t want to risk repeated injuries that could sideline you permanently. To ensure fast healing and prevent recurrent injury, have your foot or ankle promptly evaluated and treated by our podiatric doctors.
How to Treat Sports Injuries
Some of the most common sports-related injuries we see are ankle sprains, which are especially common among runners. A sprain is typically an injury to one or more of the weight-bearing ligaments supporting your ankle joint, and often occurs when the foot rolls inward or outward while running. To diagnose a sprain, our physicians will conduct a thorough physical exam of your injured ankle, possibly including X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to rule out a fracture, identify specific soft-tissue injuries, and provide a thorough explanation of your condition.
To speed healing of an ankle sprain, expect to begin a program of physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and control pain and inflammation. You may also be treated with electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound, a home exercise program, and ice. A simple air cast or ankle brace can provide added protection as you begin running again. In severe cases, surgical repair of torn ligaments may be necessary.
A metatarsal stress fracture is another common injury in running, and in many other sports in which excessive stress is placed on the ball of the foot. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the ball of the foot when walking or when the area is pressed. Because stress fractures may not show up on X-rays for several weeks, it’s important to see a podiatrist who can diagnose a fracture with a simple exam or by ordering a bone scan. Treatment may include rest, elevation, ice, a compression bandage, and a special shoe or cast to minimize stress and allow healing. As you get back to your normal athletic routine, you may also need a custom orthotic to prevent further injury to the area.
Sports played on artificial surfaces, such as football, basketball and soccer, often result in injury to the big toe joint. Called “turf toe,” these injuries are usually caused by hyperextension of the toe that damages the soft tissues that support the toe from the top. Pain, tenderness and swelling are common, and the injury can range from mild to a severe condition with black-and-blue discoloration, inability to bear weight, and major swelling. Without proper treatment and rest, turf toe can worsen, so it’s wise to have any turf toe injury evaluated by a sports injury specialist.
Foot and ankle injuries are also common in martial arts and kickboxing, due to the repetitive pivoting and elevation of the feet involved in these sports. Several types of injuries are possible, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis and ankle sprain. As a general rule, if a few days of rest and icing don’t help, make an appointment with a podiatrist specializing in sports injuries.
Injuries Can Turn into Chronic Conditions
Because many sports-related injuries can worsen or lead to recurrent injuries if not promptly evaluated and treated, always see a physician before returning to your normal exercise routine.