Foot & ankle sports injuries
Injuries during sports are common. They can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. Injuries to the foot and ankle are common while playing sports such as football, hockey, skating and in weekend athletes. Common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.
The most common treatments recommended for injury to the foot and ankle includes:
- Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE)
- NSAIDs and pain relieving medications
- Steroid injections at the location of pain to relieve pain
- Braces, casts or splints to immobilize the injured part of the foot/ankle and promote healing
- Surgery to excise deformities, release or repair damaged tendons and ligaments, and align and fix fractures with pins, screws and plates
- Physical therapy to stretch and improve range of motion
Some of the measures that are followed to prevent sports related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles.
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear including comfortable, well-fitting athletic shoes before playing any sports activity, which will help to reduce the chances of injury.
- Make sure that you follow warm up and cool down exercises before and after a sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish the muscles.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.
When to see a specialist after a sports injury?
Any chronic symptom such as ankle pain or instability (ankle keeps on giving way) should lead you to get expert advice. Chronic ankle pain can be due to a cartilage injury or undiagnosed fracture. Ongoing instability can occur due to torn ligaments which may require reconstruction. Unless ongoing symptoms are addressed promptly , the symptoms can worsen and lead to permanent damage.