Participating in sports increases your fitness level and has many benefits for your feet and rest of your body. However, there are a wide array of sports injuries that can occur to both beginners and seasoned athletes. Some common sports injuries include:
Shin Splints—pain and swelling in the front of the lower legs on the sides of the shins is the telltale symptom of this condition. Shin splints often occur with repetitive activities like walking or running. People with tight calves or flat feet are more likely to get shin splints.
Achilles Tendonitis—the Achilles tendon is a long band of tissue that runs down the back of the lower leg and connects calf muscle to the heel bone. Sports that require forceful pushing off with the foot or a sudden increase in activities like running hills can cause the tendon to become inflamed. Acute injuries can cause the tendon to rupture.
Fractures—there are two types of fractures associated with sports injuries. An acute fracture occurs as the result of a sudden impact or collision accident. Stress fractures are small, hairline cracks in the bone that can occur over time due to overuse and repetitive strain to one area.
Ankle Sprains—sprains occur when the ligaments in the ankle are injured. Ankle sprains can range in severity depending on whether the ligament is overstretched, partially or completely torn. It’s important to remember that just because you can walk on it doesn’t mean your ankle isn’t sprained.
Plantar Fasciitis—heel pain that is worse first thing when you get up in the morning is characteristic of this disorder. People with overly high arches or flat feet are more susceptible to plantar fasciitis. Being overweight and sports that require repetitive pounding on hard surfaces raise your risk for this injury.
Don’t Try to Play Through the Pain
If you experience a sudden pain when playing or notice recurring aches, soreness or other discomfort during or after your sport don’t delay seeking podiatric care. Make an appointment with the foot doctor as soon as possible to get your injury evaluated and treated. Continuing to play when injured will result in a worse injury that may require longer and more intrusive treatment or even surgery.
Preventing Sports Injuries
While some injuries are the result of an accident on the field or court, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury, including:
- Wear shoes designed for the sport you are doing and make sure they fit properly.
- Always stretch and warm up before playing.
- Start new sports and fitness activities slowly and gradually increase duration and intensity.