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If you are involved in sports or a regular physical exercise routine, you are most likely no stranger to injury. You are probably also aware that an injury can be potentially devastating to your routine. Sports medicine focuses on sports-related injuries as well as the healing and recovery that is required in order to keep you on your routine as much as possible. Another purpose of sports medicine is to provide you with the proper care and knowledge that is required in order to help you prevent further injuries.
One of the most common areas of the body to be injured in sports is the foot and/or ankle. Running, jumping, walking, climbing, and many other physical tasks involve the use of the foot and ankle, and there are a number of bones, joints, and ligaments that can be affected.
Here is a look at the common foot and ankle injuries and how a sports medicine Podiatrist can help.
When the tissues in the arch of your foot, (called the plantar fascia), undergo or absorb too much stress, it can lead to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis causes sharp pain in the bottom of the heel. In minor cases, simple calf stretches can help. In more severe cases, therapy regimens prescribed by a ‘sports medicine doctor’ may be necessary. In rare cases, surgery is needed but is uncommon.
Achilles Tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which is the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. This particular tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It is also common in middle-aged people who play sports like tennis or basketball, only on the weekends. Running in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of Achilles Tendinitis, as can training in cold weather, and running on hilly terrain. Most cases can be treated with relatively simple care at home, under a doctor’s supervision. Planning, or self-care strategies, which may include taking it easy, then very gradually increasing your activity level, are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. Warm-up carefully, stretch daily, strengthen your calf muscles, and cross-train, using lower impact activities, such as cycling and swimming. The most serious cases of Achilles tendonitis can lead to tendon tears that can require surgical repair. Persistent pain around the Achilles tendon would be the primary indicator of this condition and can warrant a trip to your doctor.
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone or severe bruising within a bone. Most are caused by overuse and repetitive activity and are common in runners and athletes who participate in running sports, like soccer and basketball. They are most common when folks change their activities, which may mean trying a new exercise, changing the workout surface, suddenly increasing the intensity with which you’re working out, etc. If underlying conditions are present, like osteoporosis, or another disease that weakens bones, stress fractures may occur just doing everyday activities. Rest is the primary treatment.
A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle. Initial treatment would include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Mild sprains can be successfully treated at home and usually require a significant rest. Severe sprains sometimes require surgery to repair torn ligaments. A sprain is not the same as a strain. A strain involves an injury to a muscle or to the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. A sprain injures the bands of tissue that connect two bones. Symptoms of a sprain may be pain, swelling, bruising, limited movement of the affected joint, and/or hearing or feeling a “pop” in your joint at the time of injury. You should see a doctor if you can’t move or bear weight on the affected joint, have pain directly over the bones of an injured joint, or have numbness in any part of the injured area.
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Are you in need of a regular checkup to maintain a healthy sports routine? Diablo Foot and Ankle can help! Our specialists have vast experience in treating sports injuries. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today.