Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey—Americans love sports. From the classic team games to individual events like cross country and track, people enjoy a chance to compete and show off their physical skills. Summer, winter, and every time in between has its fair share of events. You don’t even have to compete to enjoy many athletic endeavors, like tennis, hiking, biking, and rock climbing. However, with all of these very different activities, you do have to worry about one thing: sports injuries.
Feet at Risk
Most sports involve hard impacts and heavy pounding around. Even if you aren’t striking the ground repeatedly, you are supporting your body weight and using your muscles and stabilizing structures to make your actions possible. Over time, this can take a real toll on your feet and legs. Athletes are prone to overuse injuries, simply because their feet work very hard for their sports. The excitement of the game can cause problems, too. Tripping, falling, kicking, and even landing jumps can cause traumatic injuries like ankle sprains and fractures.
Some of the most common sports injuries include:
Ankle Sprains – This is a sudden over-stretching or even tearing in the ligaments that stabilize your ankle. Not only is this painful, it dramatically weakens your lower limbs.
Achilles Tendinitis – Your Achilles tendon is necessary to push off the ground to run or jump, so when it becomes inflamed, the pain can take you out of a game.
Blisters – You skin is susceptible to damage. Friction and pressure can create little sores on the surface of your feet that can hurt enough to make you limp.
Broken Toes – You need your toes for balance and to help push off the ground when you step. Broken toes hurt and compromise your mobility.
Fractures – You have plenty of bones in your feet, and all support weight in some way. A fracture can make it nearly impossible to press down on the affected lower limb.
Heel Pain – There are many causes of heel pain, but plantar fasciitis is the most common. This heel tightness can keep you from running and enjoying your activities.
Toenail Problems – From blackened to ingrown toenails, even these small injuries can make it painful to wear your athletic shoes or put pressure on your toes.
Metatarsalgia – The ball of the foot is crucial for mobility. Metatarsal pain can keep you from being able to put weight on your forefoot, effectively sidelining you.
Stress Fractures – Though not full-blown breaks, these significantly and painfully weaken your lower limbs. If not properly treated, they risk a full break later.
Shin Splints – A common overuse injury, shin splints feel worse the more active you are, which can make it difficult to continue your sport.
Turf Toe – A common toe injury for many of the athletes that regularly play on artificial turf. Also known as a toe sprain, you can recover from turf toe quickly with proper treatment.
Managing Your Condition
Whether from overuse or traumatic damage, sports injuries can take you out of a game for an extended period of time. Overuse injuries, in particular, are problematic, because many athletes try to push through the pain and don’t seek help until the issue has become serious. Getting back into your sport quickly and without pain requires prompt, intentional treatment. Dr. Paul C. LaFata will examine your limbs to give you an accurate diagnosis and identify any contributing factors. From there, our expert staff can establish a treatment plan.
Conservative methods will vary depending on the injury. Almost always, though, it involves a break from your activities to give your body a chance to heal. Then you may need physical therapy and special conditioning to ease back into your sport without reinjuring yourself. You may need to make changes to your footwear or add orthotics to make sure your lower limbs are properly protected and supported as well.
Sports injuries can sideline you, but they don’t have to ruin your love of the game. Don’t ignore the pain you feel when you’re active and allow a small issue to grow and worsen. Instead, contact West Lawn Podiatry Associates—the Center for Foot and Ankle Care. We can get you more information or an appointment to investigate the issue . Call (610) 678-4581 or submit an online request form to reach our office in Reading County.