Whether you’re an Olympian or on a rec league, get paid the big bucks by the New York Yankees or have to try out for the varsity team at the start of each school year, chances are pretty high that if you’re an athlete, you’ll get hurt at some point. But some sports have a greater instance of injury than others – especially when it comes to ankles and feet. Sports that require you to move rapidly and with unnatural twists and turns can put stress on your lower limbs. While the patients we see are vast and varied, many participate in running, football, and basketball. Here’s a breakdown of some of the injuries we see for each sport – and a few thoughts on how to treat them.
Some people like to run for cardio exercise; others like to get in a few 5Ks for fundraising or just for fun. And then there are those that run for sport, whether competing against others or against themselves. Since most people run for significant distances, the activity places repetitive pressures on the foot. Common injuries in runners, supported by the experts at Runner’s World, include bunions, neuromas, a variety of Achilles tendon issues, and plantar fasciitis. Not all of these conditions require surgery. Sometimes, the right combination of noninvasive treatments and supports might get things back on track. But after a full exam, it might be determined that a surgical procedure is indeed the best option.
Football also puts athletes at a higher risk for foot and ankle injuries. After all, every player — from D-line to O-line to special teams — must be agile enough to dodge and outrun opponents. And when that requires quick reversals or turns, you can bet that a twisted ankle or sprain is a risk. Other common football ailments include Lisfrac injuries and Achilles damage. In fact, the National Football Post recently cited Achilles issues as being equal to or more of a concern than the long-feared torn ACL. This is pretty understandable, as an Achilles injury usually requires surgery to repair a damaged tendon.
Basketball is one of those fast-paced sports that necessitates almost constant movement. Since timeouts are limited and usually saved for strategic moments, players can be in motion for large amounts of time, putting athletes at risk for issues like peroneal tendon tears. The rapid pacing up and down the court also requires quick turns and maneuvering, which translates to jarring pressures placed on ankle joints. Couple that with jumps for shots and the aggressive play that can sometimes lead to on-court spills, and you’re bound to see an injury or two.
Regardless of the ankle and foot risks, athletics are fun, and there’s no sense in quitting just to prevent an injury. The important thing to remember is to avoid the temptation to “play through the pain.” After all, a “no pain, no gain” attitude can lead to more extensive injuries down the line.
No matter the sport that caused it, if you’re dealing with a foot or ankle injury, stop in and discuss your options for care, because chances are we’ve seen it before.