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Sports Injuries

The Proper Foot Treatment For A Quick Recovery

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One of the most common ways of staying active and exercising is participating in a sport of one kind or another.

From those that are casual players to those that play for a living, there is a risk of receiving a sports-related injury at some point in time. This is also true for individuals of any age. Whether it be a young child participating in their first sports activity, a teen working hard for a college scholarship, an adult staying fit, or a senior trying to stay active—there is always a possibility of being injured.

Many sports-related injuries occur in the foot, ankle, and up to the knee as most types of sports rely heavily on the legs and feet. At A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center, our podiatrists specialize in all sports-related injuries that affect the leg and foot from the knee down. While some sports injuries are unavoidable, there are some preventative measures that you can take to keep your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints as healthy as possible. Continue reading to learn about the different types of sports injuries, how each one is treated, and what you can do to help prevent injuries from occurring. Contact A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center today with questions or concerns! 

The Different Components Of The Foot And Ankle

While the foot and ankle may seem like a very miniscule part of your body, they contain several little moving parts that are working constantly to keep you on your feet. The intricate design of all these small elements in your foot and ankle is extremely fascinating. However, just like any machine with a bunch of moving parts, your foot and ankle are susceptible to injuries. The following is a breakdown and a deeper look at what’s below the surface of your foot and ankle and how they can be affected by a sports-related injury.

Muscles - There are twenty different muscles that make up your foot. Many times one or more of these muscles will be pulled or torn while participating in a sport. When the muscle is overstretched or overused, it can lead to a muscle strain in your foot or ankle.

Tendons- There are several tendons of different sizes throughout your foot and ankle that connect the muscles to the bone, the most common one being the Achilles tendon. Tearing of the Achilles tendon is a pretty common, yet very serious, sports injury.

Bones-There are a total of twenty-six bones that make up your foot and ankle. Many of these are extremely small, which makes it easier for them to be fractured in the event of a sports injury. The severity and placement of the fracture determines the treatment.

Ligaments-Ligaments are responsible for holding your foot together by connecting all of those bones that we mentioned previously. The two most common causes of sports injuries that pertain to the ligaments are sprains and dislocations, normally of a joint.

Joints-There are thirty-three joints within the foot and ankle that—with the help of the ligaments—connect the bones together. These joints allow the foot to flex properly to allow your feet and ankles to stabilize and support all the weight of your body.

Types Of Sports Injuries That Affect Your Feet

A lot of sports injuries occur due to sudden trauma; however, several sports-related injuries that affect the foot and ankle are simply caused by repetitive use or overuse of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints within them. If you have suffered from a sports-related injury or would like more information about any of the following types of injuries, contact A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center today!

Shin splints

Shin splints are caused by the inflammation of tendons and muscles on the front side of the lower leg. Improper running form or the wrong shoe type for the sports activity being performed could be the simple cause of this irritatingly painful sports injury. While not a severe injury, it does cause discomfort.

Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa near the back of the ankle, which causes pain in the heel bone. This injury is often seen in sports as it is often caused by overuse of the ankle joint while walking, running, or jumping. Another symptom of bursitis in the ankle, beyond pain, is stiffness within the joint.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis, the inflammation of a tendon, often affects the three major tendons/groups of tendons in the foot and ankle—Achilles tendon, extensor tendons, and the peroneal tendons. Tendonitis in these tendons is often caused by overuse in sports by running, jumping, or kicking a ball.  

Sprains

Sprains that occur while playing sports most often affect the ankle joint. When the ligaments surrounding the ankle are overstretched or torn due to a sudden twisting of the joint, it is referred to as a mild or severe sprain. Sprains are normally accompanied by pain and swelling near the joint.

strains

Differing from sprains, strains are the overstretching of a muscle rather than a ligament. The overextending of the muscles in the foot, ankle, or calf during a sports activity is most often due to either repetition or overuse while running or jumping. Muscle strains cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. Athletes, especially runners, often struggle with this foot problem as it is caused by excessive pressure on the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can cause extremely sharp pain in your heel and calf.

Dislocations 

Dislocations are another extremely common sports injury. When a sudden impact to a bone occurs, normally at a joint (ie. ankle or toe), that causes the bone to pop out of its socket or normal positioning, a dislocation has taken place. This will cause the area to be immediately painful, swollen, and immobile.

Fractures/Breaks

Sudden, excessive pressure placed unnaturally against a bone often causes a fracture or break to occur. Fractures are normally a minor crack in the bone, whereas a broken bone is a complete break. This sports injury is often seen in contact sports and causes severe pain, swelling, and numbness.

contusions

Another common sports injury in contact sports is contusions. These severe bruises are caused from a dull object damaging the soft tissue in your foot or ankle. This injury often occurs when players kick a hard object or land their lower leg/foot onto a hard surface—causing discoloration and pain.

Muscle spasms

Muscle spasms, also known as cramps, often occur in the numerous muscles of the foot, ankle, and calf during sports activities. These spasms commonly occur in sports that rely heavily on running, as they are normally caused by overexertion, lack of blood circulation, and lack of stretching.

Treating A
Sports-Related Injury

At A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center, our podiatrists are constantly researching and looking for not only the most advanced treatments, but also the most noninvasive treatments for sports-related injuries as we understand that a quick recovery is vital in many circumstances. While major foot or ankle surgery to repair a sports injury is not always avoidable, it will not be the first option we turn to.

Many common minor sports-related injuries have simple and quick treatments that will get you back on your feet, doing what you love in no time! Contact our licensed and certified team at At A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center today for more information about sports injury treatments!

Treatment For
Mild Sports Injuries

The tried and true treatment method for many mild sports-related injuries is RICE—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. As we mentioned above, sports injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, bursitis, and minor dislocations are often accompanied by swelling or inflammation, which should be treated with the RICE method as soon as possible.

1. Rest

Stop using the injured leg/foot immediately to prevent the injury from getting worse.

2. Ice

Apply ice to the injured area to help bring down the swelling and prevent further swelling.

3. Compression

Use an elastic bandage to stabilize the injured area, while reducing blood flow and swelling.

4. Elevation

Placing the injured area above the heart will also assist in preventing further swelling.

Other mild sports injuries such as muscle spasms, contusions, and shin splints are often effectively treated with the use of over-the-counter pain medications and muscle relaxers. Plantar fasciitis as well as certain cases of tendonitis and bursitis can also be treated with pain medications and the use of functional orthotics.

If pain or swelling persists or worsens at all with the use of the above treatment options, it is time to call your local podiatrist at one of our four A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center locations in Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, and Cheyenne.

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Treatment For Moderate To Severe Sports Injuries

If you experience a moderate to severe sports-related foot injury such as a fracture or break, it is vital that you see your podiatrist as soon as possible to prevent severe pain and permanent damage to the affected area. Severe sprains, strains, and dislocations should also be examined by a foot doctor to ensure that it heals properly and no additional treatment is needed.

Treatments for these more severe sports-related foot injuries can vary from a simple brace and activity restriction to complete foot surgery. Severe tendonitis may require something to restrain the affected tendon from making the movement that is causing the inflammation and may require stronger medications. Treatment for severe dislocations may consist of the bone being properly reset or repositioned and immobilized. If you are uncertain about the severity of a sport-related injury that you have received, it is best to go ahead and give one of our offices a call to ensure that the injury is properly treated!

Foot Surgery

At A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center, our podiatric surgeons use advanced techniques and equipment to offer you expert foot surgery services that are often fulfilled within our clinics for your convenience. Click here to learn more about our foot surgery services. Contact our foot and ankle doctors at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center today with questions or concerns!

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Preventing A Sports Injury

As we mentioned, sports injuries are not always avoidable, but there are a few things that can be implemented into your lifestyle or routine to help prevent some sports-related injuries. Below is a list of some of the common preventative measures for sports injuries:

  • Stretch out before participating in any sports activity or workout to avoid overextending muscles, tendons, and ligaments that cause injuries such as tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, and strains.
  • Wear the proper footwear for the type of sports activity. Shoes or functional orthotics that properly support your feet and ankles will help to prevent injuries such as shin splints, bursitis, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
  • Stay hydrated while you participate in sports of any kind. Drinking plenty of water will help prevent any muscle spasms from occuring due to dehydration.
  • Follow doctor’s orders following a recent foot or ankle injury when playing sports to ensure you do not overwork or reinjure the affected area.
  • Wear ankle braces when needed to help stabilize loose tendons and ligaments to prevent an injury from occurring during a sports activity as well as preventing additional ankle or foot problems later on in life.

If you would like more information about preventing sports injuries, contact one of our A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers today to talk to one of our foot specialists!

A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center

 

At A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center, we offer foot and ankle services to those of every age with a sports-related injury. Whether it be a young child or teen that suffered from a foot or ankle injury while playing school sports or a senior that sprained their ankle while running, our podiatrists have the knowledge and experience to offer the best foot care in the area. 

A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center offers foot and ankle care in four convenient locations—Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, and Cheyenne. Put your feet in the hands of our foot specialists.

Contact us today!    

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