How to Heal Common Sports Injuries
Maybe you were dribbling down the court towards the hoop, or maybe you were swinging for a home run when suddenly you felt that pain in your ankle or your foot.
Here at Waukesha Foot Specialists, we understand that getting hurt – especially when doing the sport you love – isn’t fun. On top of having to deal with pain and discomfort, you are now faced with the prospect of sitting at home and waiting for your injury to heal so that you can get back in the game.
The truth of the matter is this:
As painful as foot and ankle injuries are, having to spend a long time recovering on the sidelines can be almost as painful!
But taking time off is important. And even though you might be used to staying active and have a real passion for staying fit, playing the game, and contributing to your team, your feet and ankles endure so much during physical activities. After all, they endure virtually constant impacts, twists, turns, and landings as you charge towards your goal.
Sadly, those kinds of movements can easily lead to foot and ankle injuries.
Of course, even when you aren’t “in season”—or even if sports really isn’t your thing—your feet and ankles are still an essential part of your life!
That’s why taking care of your lower limbs should be a top priority on your to-do list if you plan on running any of our local trails or dominating the soccer field in your rec league.
If you want to stay active, don’t wait until you compromise your feet and ankles before you finally give them some attention. To help you with this, we have some great information to keep in mind for preventing sports injuries.
And if you already have sustained an injury, no worries – we also have some great information for you, as well. In fact, today’s advanced orthopedic technology has made recovery time shorter and treatment more effective, so now you can get back in the game quickly and safely.
So keep reading to find out how you can ensure you have “game ready” feet and ankles.
Preventing Sports Injuries
Yes! The weather is finally getting warmer – and we know that you are eager to get back out on the court after a cold winter. However, it is important that you keep in mind that although getting back into shape is great, you should never begin intense exercise right away.
So remember to pace yourself and work up to your desired intensity. Easing into new activities – or prior to ramping up intensity levels for existing ones – is one of the smartest moves you can make.
That said, even when easing yourself into a workout routine, sports injuries – especially to your feet and ankles – can still happen. And, as is true with most other injuries, the answer here is to prevent, prevent, prevent.
What you should do is first condition your muscles and always warm up before beginning any intense physical activity.
You should also listen to your body – if it hurts, STOP. Once the pain subsides, you can then condition yourself once more to the intensity level desired.
You should also wear appropriate footwear which is supportive and aligns with your physical needs – this is actually a vital part of preventing sports injuries. So, when purchasing your kicks, keep in mind the specific obstacles you may face within your sport of choice.
Of course, the reality is that whenever we are active, then sports injuries will always be a possibility. Therefore, becoming familiar with their symptoms and how to address them is important – which brings us to our next point.
Common Sports Injuries
We certainly hope that as you take preventative steps to avoid sports, you will steer clear from any painful conditions.
That said, it is important to be mindful of the fact that some sports injuries can develop gradually, rather than being caused by trauma – in which case the injury is usually quite obvious.
Because not all injuries are quickly and easily recognizable, you should know what symptoms you should stay on the lookout for. Especially when even mild pains can very well indicate that there is something wrong with a foot or ankle.
Below are some of the most common foot and ankle sports injuries and their symptoms:
- This kind of injury happens whenever your foot/toe twists or bends suddenly and at an awkward angle, causing the connective tissues which hold your joints together to stretch beyond their range of motion. The usual symptoms are: sharp, sudden pain followed by weakness; trouble bearing weight or moving your ankle around, swelling and bruising.
- Shin Splint. This condition typically develops in runners and dancers, or in athletes who have recently intensified or changed training routines – doing so overworks the muscles, tendons and bone tissue. The usual symptoms are: tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner side of the shinbone. You may also experience swelling of the lower leg.
- Stress Fracture. This is an injury typically caused by overuse. After repetitive jumping and running motions, tiny cracks in the bone begin to develop and may grow overtime if left untreated. The usual symptoms are: pain that is gradual, worsens when performing activities, and decreases after rest. You may also experience some swelling in the area.
- Achilles Tendinitis. This injury usually develops due to overuse of the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. Increasing the intensity and duration of activities can often be the culprit. The usual symptoms are: pain in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or doing sports. You may also experience tenderness and stiffness, particularly in the morning.
- Plantar Fasciitis. This condition will develop whenever the thick band of tissue (your plantar fascia) that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel to your toes becomes inflamed. The usual symptoms are: stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel, especially after completing exercises or standing after sitting for long periods. Sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of the heel that accompanies the first steps of the day – after a full night’s sleep – is a key indicator of this injury.
Now, you may be wondering what to do if any of these common conditions becomes a reality in your life. Well, let’s get to the bottom of it.
Treating Sports Injuries
Whenever these types of injuries occur, immediately stop what you are doing, remove your shoes, elevate your legs, and apply ice to the injured area. And, as soon as you are able, contact our office to schedule an appointment so that we can diagnose your specific condition and provide appropriate treatment methods.
While you wait to come in for your visit, you should avoid putting weight on your injured foot or ankle and take the steps listed below:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen should do the trick.
- Avoid high-impact movements. Instead, opt for low-impact sports like swimming or biking.
- Use a wrap or brace. This will help both compress and stabilize an injured joint.
- Do some stretching. Before any activity, perform some foot flexing and stretches.
- Adjust your shoes. Compliment your appropriate footwear with orthotics to help raise the heel and support the arch of your foot.
- Rest your feet. The problem will not improve if you continue to strain the tissues in your feet.
- Ice the area. This will help reduce any potential swelling and to relieve pain.
The methods used to address different injuries largely depend on the severity of pain and the extent of the damage associated with said injury.
When you come visit us, we will thoroughly examine your lower limbs, using in-house, state-of-the-art diagnostic services – this will help us create a treatment regimen that best suits your specific condition.
Come Visit Us Today!
We hope you’re able to stay safe and healthy during your favorite activities, but if you do develop pain and discomfort in a foot or ankle, come see us at our Waukesha Foot Specialists office in Wisconsin.
Our team will provide you with the most effective sports injury care available so that you can get back in the game as quickly and as safely as possible!
To schedule an appointment, simply call us at (262) 544-0700 and our staff will be glad to assist you. You can also take advantage of our handy request form online.