Sports Injury Prevention
Sports is a part of life for billions of people across the globe. Whether following, watching, or participating in athletic competition, there is something that appeals to our nature. The shared experience of watching a favorite team with fellow fans or winning your rec league basketball game on a last-second shot can bond us. Unfortunately, they also offer the downside of potential sports injuries, which seem to defeat the purpose of trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.
One of the most common sports injuries can happen to a very important joint—your ankle. Ankle sprains are certainly not limited to athletes—think about that time you stepped awkwardly off a curb or slipped in an icy parking lot—but running, jumping, being tackled, etc. can make them more probable. This injury happens when the foot twists excessively and causes the ligaments in the ankle to stretch beyond their limits, tear, and become inflamed.
Stress fractures are also quite a common problem. Part of the reason is that they can be caused either by overuse or by an acute, traumatic incident. A stress fracture is a hairline crack in bone that is often sustained from high-impact activities. They can be recognized by pain in a specific location that continues to worsen with time.
Shin splints occur frequently to runners and are marked by a throbbing ache in your shins. There are a variety of reasons why you might develop pain in your shins, including swollen and irritated muscles from overuse, overpronation, and as a result of a stress fracture in one of your lower leg bones.
You can often tell that you have developed plantar fasciitis when you wake in the morning and are greeted by sharp pain in your heel. The pain is a result of the inflammation that occurs following a series of tears in the fascia, the tissue that runs lengthwise across the bottom of your foot. This condition can be caused by any combination of overuse, faulty biomechanics, or structural issues like flat feet.
Preventing Sports Injuries
At Waukesha Foot Specialists, we firmly believe that it’s better not to get hurt in the first place. The good news is that the risk for many of these and other common injuries can be decreased with a little knowledge and effort on the front end. Here are some tips that will help keep the injuries at bay:
- Ease into physical activity. Too often people are so eager to start a new workout routine or join their new rec team that they try to do too much, too soon. Fight this urge and gradually progress with regard to your frequency and duration of activity.
- Stretch! Going into activity with muscles that are cold and tight is an open invite for injury. Take the time to do a 5-minute warmup and then thoroughly stretch, especially the feet and ankles that are crucial for so many of your movements.
- Consider your shoes. Make sure that you are choosing the appropriate footwear for the activity you are participating in. It’s true that you might physically be able to run a marathon in loafers, but you will end up with more pain and issues than you bargained for. Also, make sure they offer a proper fit (not too snug, not too loose).
- Variety is the spice of life, so give your workout some flavor. Cross-training is a smart way to promote overall health and conditioning, but it will also help you avoid injury. In addition to playing flag football or running road races, spend some time in the pool or get on that old bicycle and hit the streets. Your body will thank you for the low-impact workouts.
At Waukesha Foot Specialists, we treat a lot of sports injuries and are always happy to see our formerly-injured athletes get back on the field (after we have cleared them to do so, of course!). When you sustain an injury in a recreational basketball league, weekend volleyball game with friends, or any other kind of physical activity, call us at (262) 544-0700 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Amy Miller-Guhl or Dr. David Guhl and find the treatment you need.