Like any good foundation, your feet and ankles hold your entire body weight while providing a stable and reliable platform. What’s more, they perform that Herculean task while also allowing movement and flexibility, which adds a considerable degree of difficulty.
So it’s not surprising, given the complexity of their jobs, that your feet and ankles are highly susceptible to injury. Here at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in The Woodlands, Texas, our extensive team of experts sees and treats all kinds of foot and ankle injuries every day. Here are the most common types of injuries.
A sprained ankle is, by far, the most prevalent type of injury to your lower body. And athletes aren’t the only victims. More than 28,000 people sprain their ankle every day in this country, on and off the field.
Sprained ankles come in varying degrees of severity from a simple, overstretched ligament that hobbles you for a couple of weeks to complex injuries that sideline you for much longer and even require surgery.
If you play a sport that calls upon your ankles to jump and pivot a lot, make sure you wear shoes that provide proper ankle support. Focus on exercises that strengthen your ankles and improve your balance to help you avoid sprained ankles.
Anyone who puts repetitive stress on their bones is at risk for a stress fracture — tiny cracks in your bones that develop over time. Stress fractures can happen to anyone, especially the elderly, whose bones may be fragile and thin. These fractures are particularly common among runners who compete or train on hard surfaces like cement or asphalt.
Proper footwear can help prevent stress fractures, but the best way to avoid them is to know the risks, use the right equipment, rest when your body tells you to, and come in to see us when you feel pain. If it turns out you have a stress fracture, we can treat it and help you heal before it gets worse.
Anytime you see the suffix “itis” in a word, it means you have inflammation in that body part. One of the most common ankle injuries is Achilles tendonitis, or inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This is the largest tendon in your body, and it attaches your calf muscle to your heel.
Inflammation occurs when you put too much stress on this tendon, which leads to tiny tears and, of course, pain. This overuse injury is common in runners and anyone who uses their ankles in a quick, cutting motion that’s common in sports like soccer, football, and basketball.
You can avoid severe Achilles tendonitis by learning the early warning signs of a stressed tendon and giving it a good rest so that the tiny tears can heal. We can also recommend physical therapy exercises to strengthen your tendon and increase its flexibility.
When you push off the ground with power and pressure, whether on the job or in a game, your big toe takes the brunt of the force and sometimes gets hyperextended. The result is a sprain in the main joint. It’s often called turf toe because it happens frequently to football players when they compete on artificial turf.
Turf toe is an acute injury, which means there’s no way to prevent it other than being mindful of the surface or field you’re working or playing on and making sure you’re wearing the proper shoes for the activity. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication is typically all that’s needed while the sprain heals.
Where to get help for your foot and ankle injuries
If any of these common foot and ankles injuries has you hobbled, contact us at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre by phone or online to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We can have you back on your feet as quickly as possible.