From the repeated pounding that runners’ feet receive on paved surfaces to the side-to-side motion seen in court sports, there’s no question that athletes’ feet and ankles are prime candidates for injuries. Whether you participate in sports regularly or are just a “weekend warrior,” be on the lookout for some of these common problems:
Ankle sprains – This is one of the most common sports injuries. Prompt evaluation and treatment by one of our foot and ankle doctors is important… sometimes that “sprain” is actually an ankle fracture, and treatments for these two conditions are very different. Don’t skimp on rehabilitation and physical therapy, either! An ankle that has not been properly healed and strengthened is more likely to suffer repeated sprains, leading to chronic ankle instability.
Achilles tendon disorders – Athletes are at high risk for developing disorders of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon that runs down the back of the lower leg, can progress into a degeneration of the tendon (Achilles tendonosis). A sudden increase of a repetitive activity, leading to micro-injury of the tendon fibers, can cause these conditions.
Heel pain – This condition is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, although it may also be due to other causes including stress fractures. Faulty foot structure is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis, but it can also result from wearing shoes that are worn out or not designed for the sport in which you’re participating. Keeping the Achilles tendon stretched can help get rid of this pain, but continued pain should be checked out to rule out a fracture or other cause.
Morton’s neuroma – Also called “intermetatarsal neuroma,” this is a thickening of nerve tissue in the ball of the foot resulting from compression and irritation of the nerve. Causes include activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or court sports. Symptoms start gradually and may come and go when the nerve is irritated due to activity. It’s important to treat this condition early, before the damage becomes more severe (FHF, 2015).
Your feet and ankles take a beating when you’re playing baseball. Baseball players should be aware of the following risks:
Feet and ankles take a beating in basketball, too! Injuries can occur from running, jumping, cutting, quick starts and stops, and direct contact with other players. Basketball players should be aware of the following:
The running and side-to-side cutting in field hockey are common causes of injuries to the foot and ankle. Field hockey players should be aware of the following risks:
Football players can receive injuries to the foot and ankle due to running, side-to-side cutting, or direct trauma, such as from another player during a tackle. Be aware of the following risks:
Soccer is hard on the feet! Injuries to the foot and ankle can occur from running; side-to-side cutting, sliding, or tackling; and from striking the ball or another player with the foot. Soccer players should be aware of the following risks:
Over 200,000 patients have found relief from their foot pain, heel pain or ankle pain, and we’re confident we can help you too. Your feet will thank you! For additional information on sports-related foot and ankle injuries or to schedule an appointment, call Weil Foot & Ankle at (847) 390-7666. With 15 podiatry offices in and around the Chicago area, including Aurora, Des Plaines, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, and Roselle, IL, there is sure to be a podiatry office near you!