In an action-packed game like baseball, injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. Whether you root for the New York Mets, Yankees, or another team, you’ve probably seen a player or two sit out a game or even a season due to a foot or ankle issue. While all sports are accompanied by a chance for injury, baseball players are at risk for a few specific concerns. Here are a few to look out for if you’re on the team or sitting in the stands and hoping for a win.
Achilles tendon rupture
The Achilles tendon is the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. This tendon helps the foot to point downward and assists with foot movement for walking, running, and jumping. If the tendon becomes stretched too far, it may tear, or rupture. An Achilles rupture usually occurs as a result of repeated stress on the tendon during movement. Think about a player who continuously jumps up to catch fly balls, runs rapidly around the bases, or pushes too hard after the winter off season. Although men over the age of 30 are more likely to experience a rupture, younger individuals can still be impacted. Once a rupture occurs, it’s quite painful, and surgery is the best bet for total healing.
Peroneal tendon injuries
The repetitive and fast-paced nature of baseball can also put players at risk for a peroneal tendon tear or dislocation. These tendons are located along the outer edge of the lower leg, and are contained in a fibrous tunnel that runs behind the outside of the ankle bone. They provide stability and function to the ankle joint, and are essential for base running. If the tissue surrounding the tendons gets too damaged, the tendons are in a compromised position. In addition to pain, players might experience swelling, popping sensations, tenderness, and weakness — all negatives in baseball. Conservative treatments, like physical therapy, medication, and casts, can prove helpful, but more severe situations require surgery and time on the bench.
Lisfranc injuries are rare — and that makes them harder to detect and treat. Athletes who avoid a proper evaluation from a doctor might misdiagnose themselves with a sprain, but lisfranc issues are much more advanced than that. They generally involve some sort of crushing blow to the foot or twisting of the foot, and their severity ranges from tears to fractures to dislocations. Ouch! Common symptoms of a Lisfranc injury include pain, swelling, and bruising under the sole of the foot, as well as difficulty standing or walking. Since the best way to identify a Lisfranc injury is to see it through an imaging technique, CT scans and X-rays are often recommended. Surgery for this type of injury focuses on aligning the joints of the midfoot. That means plates, screws, and wires might be used to keep things secure. After a few months of recovery, players should be able to get back into the game.