Nearly any type of sporting activity has the potential for injury to the foot or ankle. Common sports injuries can be classified as:
· Toenail injuries/bruising
· Tendon injuries
· Muscle injuries
· Joint sprains (Ligaments)
· Growth plate injuries in children
· Bone injury – contusion and fracture
Toenail bruising is a very common event during exercise. Black toenails or lifting of the toenails is the result of minor trauma that occurs while exercising. With each step, the toes are jammed into the end of the shoe or the top of the shoe.
Abrasions are scrapes of the skin with the removal of the top layer of the skin. Blisters are due to excessive friction where the skin remains intact and fluid accumulates under the skin.
In the event of an abrasion, the area should be cleaned with soap and water. A light bandage with an antibiotic ointment would be a good idea. Should the abrasion become red or infected, seek the advice of your podiatrist.
In the case of blisters, the fluid should be drained without removing the top layer of skin. An antibiotic ointment with a mild compressive dressing should be considered. If the area becomes red or infected seek the advice of your doctor.
Blisters can be an indication of abnormal foot function. If the blisters are reoccurring in nature, make an appointment with a podiatrist.
Contusions are due to blunt trauma. If the trauma results in swelling and bruising, it indicates that soft tissue or bone injury has occurred. Bruising indicates the rupture of blood vessels. In this instance, an x-ray should be considered.
Ice to the area will reduce the swelling and slow any bleeding under the skin in the area of injury. Consultation with a physician should be based on common sense.
Tendon injuries are the most common sports related injury. These injuries can be caused by muscle imbalances, over aggressive playing of the sport, blunt trauma and sprains.
Muscles injuries occur because of direct trauma and over-exertion in the context of muscle imbalance. When a muscle has been injured, ice and mild compression may be useful. Heat will generally increase the swelling. Rest is very important in the event of these injuries. If bruising is present, advice from your doctor should be obtained.
Joint sprains occur when a joint is forced to move in an abnormal fashion or beyond their normal range of motion. The ankle sprain is the most common joint sprained due to the weight it has to carry.
Growth plate injuries in children
There are a number of common growth plate injuries in children. The growth plate is the area within a bone that provides for the proper growth of the bone. An injury to this area of the bone can result in early closing of the growth plate or abnormal growth of the bone.
The growth plates in the foot on average close at age at 14 years in girls and 16 years in boys. Your podiatrist should evaluate any trauma or joint sprain of the foot or ankle in a child.
Bone injury – contusion and fracture
There are two basic types of fracture to bones. The obvious type of fracture is due to direct trauma or joint sprain. The other type of fracture is called a stress fracture. Stress fractures occur because of repeated abnormal forces being generated through the bone and aren’t as readily apparent.
There are many types of sports injuries. The diagnosis of these injuries is based on common diagnostic skills and modalities known to your podiatrist. The proper treatment of these injuries can make the difference between non-painful resumption of your sport or on-going pain and perhaps cessation of your activity. It is important to realize that normal healing cannot be sped up, it can only be slowed down. Even if it means the loss of a regular season of play, it is best to be patient with your doctor and the time it requires to properly heal your injury. It is better to play again in top form, rather than to stumble or never play again because you were impatient with the normal healing process.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you have pain in your feet, knees, hips or back, it may be the result of improper foot biomechanics.