It’s almost football season! Can you feel the excitement in the air? Are you ready for touchdowns, field goals, and interceptions? How about the inevitable bad calls, losing streaks and, sadly, injuries? Getting hurt definitely isn’t on the list of goals for college athletes and NFLers – or their coaches and fans. But, as with any sport, it’s just part of the game. Already, we’re seeing players being reported as on the PUP list, including New York Jets teammates Muhammad Wilkerson, Devin Smith, Khiry Robinson, and Breno Giacomini, and they are far from the only ones that will hanging out there before season play. From Olympians to high school athletes, no one is safe from bumps, bruises, sprains, and worse — and when running and tackling are on the agenda, ankle injuries are one of the most common concerns.
If you’ve seen an ankle injury or been victim to one, you know that hurt players can hit the turf fast, and they are quickly escorted off the field and out of play by athletic trainers and paramedics. But do you know the best steps to take after the immediate treatment of an injury? As we continue to learn more about the body and how injuries impact it, we know that ignoring hurts and “playing through the pain” is not the best choice. In fact, as noted in the New York Times, research shows that even small sprains (which are often overlooked or unreported) can lead to more significant problems down the line. What’s more, many injuries are misdiagnosed due to overlapping or similar symptoms that can be challenging to differentiate. The bottom line is that once you’re hurt, it’s essential to be evaluated by an expert and follow treatment advice.
When an injured athlete enters our office, we do a comprehensive check to determine the best care plan. This could entail X-rays, MRIs, and even a diagnostic arthroscopy. After, we narrow down a route to recovery, which could include everything from noninvasive outpatient therapies to minimally invasive surgeries. It really all depends on the extent of the injury.
Most players are eager to get back in the game, so a common question is how long recovery will take. Again, this varies from situation to situation, but sticking to the provided treatment strategies can help speed up recovery. Even after severe damage, like with an achilles rupture or a peroneal tendon tear, the odds of a full recovery with restored function are in the player’s favor. Still, we encourage clients to focus on how to reduce the risk of future injuries. Stretching and other pre-play warmups will be important, as will easing back into action.
The best way to heal from an injury is to not get one in the first place. Unfortunately, getting hurt is often simply part of play. If you’re dealing with a sports-related ankle injury, we can help you get back in the game and avoid future problems.