Providing treatment for injuries from sports activities
At Kansas City Foot and Ankle, we diagnose and treat many types of common foot and ankle injuries including tendonitis, ankle sprains, stress fractures and traumatic injuries. Sports injuries are being seen with increased frequency as America continues to make regular exercise part of their overall fitness plan. Sports injuries to the foot and ankle can be caused by trauma, improper warm-up, overuse, improper foot wear, and playing on hard surfaces. At our office, we treat sports injuries with a working knowledge of individual sports and their commonly associated injuries.
Generally there are two types of injuries related to athletic activities:
- Overuse injuries, which include tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures.
- Traumatic injuries occur from a specific event such as an ankle sprain, contusion, or traumatic fracture.
Common Conditions from Sports Injuries
A stress fracture is a break in the bone caused by overuse. Up to 15% of all sport injuries are stress fractures. Symptoms of stress fractures include pain, swelling, and redness. If these symptoms appear, immediately follow RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Contact our office for an appointment. We will perform a thorough examination, which will include x-rays in order to diagnose a stress fracture. Treatments include immobilizing the foot with the use of an orthopedic boot or cast. Depending on the location and extent of the fracture, you may be able to ambulate in a cast boot. Remaining non-weightbearing may be necessary to keep you comfortable and allow proper bone healing. Ignoring a possible stress fracture can lead to a total bone break.
An ankle sprain occurs by stretching or tearing one or more ligaments on either or both side of the ankle. Ignoring a sprain won’t let it heal any faster. Ankle injuries that are serious enough to cause disabling pains should be treated. Further examination may reveal an injured tendon or bone fracture. Common treatments for sprains include rest, elevation, compression, ice and anti-inflammatory medication. More serious sprains may call for crutches and other walking devices.
Achilles Tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon due to overuse and often combines with instability in the way the foot functions.
Yes, there are ways to prevent injuries. You should always start slowly and increase your mileage or level of activity slowly over time. Never increase your mileage more than 10% per week. Always wear appropriate shoes for your particular athletic activity. Make sure you have appropriate support in the shoe such as good over the counter insoles, or custom molded orthotics.
Studies have shown that after 350 miles on a pair of running shoes, you are more prone to injuries. Injuries are more likely because either the stability of the shoes has broken down or you lose quite a bit of the shock absorption as compared to when the shoes were new.
Shoes are very specialized today. Wear appropriate shoes for the sport you are participating in. In other words, don’t wear running shoes that are built for forward motion to play basketball or tennis or sports where side to side motion is common. Basketball and specialized tennis shoes are appropriate for their respective sports, but running in high top basketball shoes is not ideal.
If you play a sport more than twice per week, it is especially important to take your time to research the best shoes and make an investment in your footwear. Remember, shoes wear out so change your footwear as recommended.
Warming up your muscles and stretching your muscles, tendons and ligaments is important to prevent injuries. Do a light warm-up and then stretch before getting more aggressive with your exercising. When taking a break, like when you’re sitting on the bench or on the sidelines, it’s a good idea to keep your muscles warm and stretched. Definitely stretch after running and exercising. Exercising hard or participating in sports without proper warm-up is inviting cold muscles, torn tendons, and other injuries.
In general, if you are having pain when returning to exercising, it may be too soon. We do not subscribe to the ‘no pain, no gain’ theory. Let pain be your guide. You may need to begin with exercises that impart less stress to your feet and ankles, such as using an elliptical machine instead of a treadmill or swimming.
When you exercise it’s important to use your orthotics. Orthotics provides the best stability and foot function for your feet. They eliminate the muscle imbalance that is occurring in your feet when not controlled with appropriate orthotics. When you exercise you need them the most, that’s when you’re hardest on your feet.
If you are struggling with a sports injury in Leawood, Overland Park, Olathe or anywhere in the Greater Kansas City area, call our office to set up an appointment. We would be happy to assist in your foot care.