The Arlington podiatrists at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center are passionate about helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts recover from sports-related foot injuries. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most common sports related injuries, how to identify them, and how to treat them.
The Achilles tendon, located in the ankle, is the largest tendon in the human body—so when it becomes inflamed, it can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, and can make walking nearly impossible. For athletes that do a great deal of running, Achilles tendinitis is identified by a sudden, sharp pain in the ankle and heel.
This form of tendinitis isn’t as much of an accident-related injury as it is an overuse injury; years of impact and strain during athletic activity breaks down the tendon, creating tiny tears and causing inflammation and severe pain.
There are two types of tendinitis: insertional, which is when the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone, and noninsertional, where damage happens to the center of the tendon without an attachment to the heel. The former can occur to just about anyone with any level of physical activity, while the latter is more likely to develop in younger, physically active individuals.
Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated without surgery—all you need is to take a break from physical activity, and start some physical therapy and stretching exercises in order for your Achilles tendon to recover and heal properly. But if tension and pain near the tendon persist, surgery might be a necessity.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, and a very common injury amongst the fitness running crowd. With so much weight pressure being applied to your heels on a daily basis, the plantar fascia (or strand of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes) can become weak and irritated. This can make it very difficult to perform everyday activities like walking, running, or even standing.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of factors like overpronation, being overweight (which puts an incredible amount of stress on your feet and ankles), having high arches or flat feet, or wearing restrictive, ill-fitting footwear like high heels. Plantar fasciitis is also very common in basketball players, as they spend a lot of time running and changing direction on hard, flat surfaces.
The first and most effective route to take in the treatment of plantar fasciitis is to rest your feet entirely. Much like Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis in an overuse injury, so giving your feet time to rest and recover is critical to treating plantar fasciitis and relieving foot and heel pain.
Ankle sprains are perhaps the most common and most treatable of sports injuries. Whether you lose your balance during a jog, roll your ankle off someone’s shoe in a basketball game, or tweak your leg changing direction in a soccer match, ankle sprains can happen in almost any athletic situation.
More often than not, ankle sprains are of the inversion variety, meaning that the foot rolls inward, pushing the ankle outward and causing a sprain (chances are that you’ve had this type of sprain before). In more serious cases, eversion sprains push the foot outward, which can cause serious foot and leg injuries.
There are three steps for treating a sprained ankle. First, rest and protect the ankle to reduce swelling and pain. Next, use stretching exercises (and more rest) to restore your ankle’s range of motion. Finally, slowly return to physical activities by gradually increasing the length and intensity of your activities, being careful to not aggravate the injury.
It’s always best to listen to the signals that your body gives you. If you begin to feel pain and discomfort when you return to physical activity, then you might want to spend some more time resting and stretching.
Talk to your Arlington podiatrist!
If you’ve experienced a sports-related foot or ankle injury, schedule a visit with the professionals at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center. Our podiatrists and staff members are dedicated to making the healing process simple and easy—and with offices in Arlington and Dallas Proper, you’ll have advanced treatment available to you no matter where you are in the greater Dallas area. Don’t wait until your injury symptoms get worse—get in touch with AllCare Foot & Ankle Center today!