When you've been sidelined by a foot or ankle injury, you want to get back to doing what you love as soon as possible. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, we've been treating sports injuries for over 30 years. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior we we'll accurately assess your condition to determine the correct treatment protocol.
We treat all types of athletes from runners, to hikers, to golfers. No matter what your sport we understand the particular risks each entails. In addition to getting you back to your passion, we'll educate you about how to prevent the condition from reoccurring.
Many sports are hard on feet and ankles because of repetitive movements, high impact, and constricting or unsupportive footwear. Due to the nature of the particular sport there is also an increased risk of trauma.
A million runners develop plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis every year, according to Running Research News. Ankle sprains are one of the most common joint injuries runners experience. Rolling over a rock, an unstable landing off a curb, or small irregularities in a road or path can cause stress or tears to an ankle ligament. Most are mild, but some sprains require immobilization or aggressive rehabilitation. Due to the repetitive impact, runners are also subject to stress fractures. Chronic, repetitive microtrauma can gradually stress the bone until it breaks.
Wearing shoes that are overdue to be replaced, or increasing speed or distance too quickly can increase the risk of stress fractures. Barefoot runners and those that wear minimalist shoes will have higher forces on the foot bones, especially if they have not yet adapted a forefoot-strike running gait.
Read our page on "Running and Foot Pain" to learn more about how to prevent foot and ankle injuries. If you have heel pain due to running and need other tips to stop it, download my eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
Engaging in outdoor sports adds uneven terrains, challenging weather conditions and unique forces upon the joints of the foot and ankle. The right rock climbing shoe is key to safety as well as advancing your skills. For skiing and snowboarding, choosing the boot and bindings depends on your style and skill level. Hikers and snowshoers need stability and protection from elements.
Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, sesamoiditis, and sprains are common to athletes involved in Tae Kwon Do, Capoeira, Krav Maga, Mixed Martial Arts or Kickboxing. Appropriate training helps prevent these injuries and includes using good technique, a sufficient warm-up, stretching, supporting the limbs with core strength, and avoiding advanced skills until the athlete is ready.
What do football, baseball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and rugby have in common? Athletes that participate in these sports are subject to foot and ankle trauma. Inadequate stretching, irregular surfaces or inappropriate shoes make these sports riskier. When proper rehabilitation can mean missing out on a season, it’s essential to play safely and smartly.
Zumba or Step Aerobics
High-impact exercises, such as Zumba or step aerobics, can exert forces up to six times that of gravity on the bones and joints of the foot. Proper shoes are crucial to absorbing some impact and stabilizing the foot during cutting motions and abrupt stops and starts. Exercise trends such as Crossfit or interval training include high intensity bursts, and when a new participants in these activities tend to overdo it. Be sure to have proper training and listen to your body in order to prevent overuse injuries, such as pulled muscles and strained joints.
Common Sports Injuries
One of the most common foot injuries we treat is plantar fasciitis. In this condition, the connective tissue called the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. You'll know you have this condition when you experience the hallmark pain in your heels when you step out of bed first thing in the morning. This pain gradually subsides during the day as your feet and calves warm-up. Plantar fasciitis has a lot of causative factors but rapid increase in training, wearing worn out athletics shoes, and a tendency to pronate when physically active are the most common.
Treatment typically involves:
- Wearing more supportive shoes designed for your sport
- Replacing inserts with Powersteps or getting cast for custom orthotics
- Adequate stretching of the calf muscles
Achilles tendonitis has many of the same causes as plantar fasciitis. When the Achilles tendon is stressed beyond its capacity it becomes inflamed. Instead of feeling the pain in the bottom of your heels, you'll feel it in the back of your heels. In addition to inflammation the Achilles tendon can rupture if strained to the breaking point. Without treatment Achilles tendonitis can progress to degeneration. Treatment for this condition is similar to that for plantar fasciitis.
Ankle injuries are the most common type of sports injury in youth and adults. Sprained ankles are at the top of the list. All too often athletes who sprain their ankles during sports activities ignore them. While some sprains will resolve on their own, I've seen patients who've torn a ligament develop long term problems such as chronic lateral ankle instability. Proper evaluation with X-ray and sometimes an MRI are required to determine how severe the tear and the best course of treatment. Treatment will usually include using the RICE protocol for acute injuries, immobilization, MLS laser therapy, and physical therapy.
Tiny hairline cracks in the bone in the foot or ankle are stress fractures. This condition is caused by repetitive force most often found in athletes. Risk factors for athletes are:
- increasing training too rapidly
- low weight women and those without a period (lack of estrogen can cause osteopenia or osteoporosis)
- flat feet or other faulty foot mechanics
- wearing unsupportive shoes
Treatment involves refraining from activity and immobilization.
Ball of foot pain
Two types of ball of foot pain are common in athletes--Morton's neuroma and turf toe.
Morton's neuroma is an enlarged grown of nerves in the ball of the foot. It develops between the 3rd and 4th toe.
People most at risk are:
- run or play court sports
- abnormal foot structure
- wear pointy shoes or high heels
At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we treat Morton's neuroma with alcohol injections and with MLS laser therapy.
Turf toe is found most often in athletes who play team sports. Symptoms include swelling and pain of the big toe joint. The problem develops as a result of jamming the toe or repetitive injury when pushing off when running or jumping.
For more information about other sports and your feet:
- Running and Foot Pain
- Don't Let Your Kids Play Through Foot Pain
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment if you or your kid sustains a foot or ankle injury, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.