A sports injury can happen in an instant. Unfortunately, they don't always happen while playing a sport. From stress fractures, athlete's foot, and heel or bone spurs, foot injuries can lower athletes' confidence and put a damper on their goals to win.
Sports injuries are common because athletes want to be their best on the field. So they train hard, too often, and for too long. Many sports, such as basketball, tennis, dance, football, and even gymnastics, put extreme stress on the feet without taking the time to recover.
Ways To Help Prevent Injury
Dealing with a foot injury can be a frustrating experience. The fantastic news is there are ways to prevent it.
First, warm up before performing any sports activities. It especially applies to running. Take at least 15 minutes to stretch the joints and get the blood flowing to the muscles.
Know Your Limitations
Many athletes attempt to train harder than their limitations. For example, if you have never done calf raises before, the first weight you pick up shouldn't be 100 pounds. The goal is to work up to 100 pounds and to be able to lift it with perfect form.
Lifting overly heavy weight before you're ready is the ideal equation for a foot injury like plantar fasciitis. Always condition the muscles for the sport but understand that it is a process.
Choose the Shoe for Your Foot Type and Sport
One of the most crucial parts of avoiding foot injuries is choosing a proper shoe for your foot type and the sport. If you are running, then you should select running shoes. If you play basketball, you should choose basketball sneakers.
If you have trouble finding a shoe that works perfectly for your feet and the sport, you can always go with a cross-training shoe, as it provides overall support and performance for many sports.
Limit the Hills
Running uphill is an incredible workout for all athletes. It increases cardiorespiratory fitness, allowing you to move quickly with speed, strength, and power. However, running uphill is not a workout one needs to do daily. In fact, not taking the time to recover from this strenuous workout can increase your chances of injury.
Listen to Your Body
Any mental performance coach will teach you about mind over matter. The purpose is to dig deeper and go further than you ever went in your ability. However, it is more important to listen to your body.
There will be times when you will need to focus on something other than how you feel and push through the workout. But if you are experiencing foot pain while doing a sport, stop the activity immediately. Take the time to understand what's causing the pain and recover before getting back into it.
Sports Injuries of the Feet
Now that we understand why sports injuries of the feet are common and how to avoid them, let's look at five of the most frequent foot injuries.
Achilles Tendinitis is very painful and can sideline an athlete for months. It results from excessive strain on the tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscles.
Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the back of the leg and ankle, difficulty bending the foot or pointing the toes, and a crackling sensation when pressing on the tendon. It is important to note that this condition can vary greatly in severity, which is why some athletes continue to perform despite feeling pain in these areas.
The best way to treat Achilles Tendinitis is to strengthen the calves to decrease the weight on the tendon.
Plantar Fasciitis is a related condition caused by excessive strain on the ligament connecting the heel bone to the toes. The effects of plantar fasciitis include pain in the heel and arch of the foot, tenderness to touch, reduced flexibility when bending the toes or ankles, and a popping sensation on the sole of the foot.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis typically includes rest, stretching exercises, and arch support devices. In some cases, surgery may be required.
Neuroma is an inflammation of a nerve in the foot that causes pain, numbness, and tingling. Symptoms of neuroma include pain in the ball of the foot, burning or tingling sensations, and numbness in the toes.
Treatment for neuroma typically includes rest, ice and compression, steroid injections, orthotic devices to reduce pressure on the nerve, and in some cases, surgery. Always wear the proper shoes when dealing with neuroma, as it prevents the toes from pressing together.
Heel or bone spurs are calcium deposits that form on the heel due to repeated strain or stress. Symptoms of a bone spur include pain in the heel, swelling, and difficulty walking. Treatment for bone spurs typically includes rest, stretching exercises to reduce tension on the spur, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Athlete’s foot is a familiar fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet. Symptoms of an athlete’s foot include redness, itching, and burning sensations between the toes. Athlete's foot occurs when the feet become moist and warm, allowing the fungus to grow.
Treatment for athlete's foot includes antifungal creams or ointments, soaking the feet in vinegar or Epsom salt, and avoiding tight-fitting shoes. Also, always wear clean socks.
It is vital to see a foot specialist if any of the above symptoms are present and there is pain or discomfort. With proper diagnosis and treatment, athletes can return to their sport quickly and without further damage. That's where the Eastern Idaho foot Clinic comes in.
Podiatrist Dr. Jerry Cooper has more than 22 years of experience and is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine. With his dedicated and experienced team of professionals and the latest podiatric technology, they provide athletes with fast and effective treatment for their foot ailments.
So don't let a foot injury slow you down. Come to Eastern Idaho Sports Clinic and get back in the game!