Kids are back in school, which means they aren’t only hitting their books – they’re also participating in fall sports. Education is undeniably important for child and teenage development, but so too is being physically active.
Between physical education classes and, obviously, school-sponsored sports teams, students have plenty of opportunity to be active. That’s great news, because there are so many benefits to exercise, sports, and physical activity. Unfortunately, there is always a certain degree of injury risk as well, and foot and ankle sports injuries are fairly common.
Lower limb sports injuries fall into two broad categories – acute and chronic. Acute injuries happen in response to a sudden, traumatic incident, such as an infielder misjudging a low, line drive and getting hit hard in the shinbone with the ball. Another example is a soccer player who plants his cleats into the ground—while the rest of his body continues to move forward—and sprains his big toe.
Conversely, chronic sports injuries have a gradual onset. They develop over time in response to an accumulation of forces on a specific area. Examples of these include basketball players who develop stress fractures from running on hard courts and runners who develop tendonitis in their Achilles tendon from overuse.
While there are numerous foot and ankle sports injuries, some of the most common include:
- Ankle sprains. Even for non-athletes, these are common lower limb injuries. This occurs when the ligaments connecting the ankle bones are extended beyond their intended range of motion.
- Achilles tendinitis. Too much high-impact activity, or sudden increases in intensity, leads to problems for the Achilles tendon. This injury is marked by pain in the back of the heel during and following activity.
- Fractures. Sports involving solid objects (baseball bats, hockey sticks, balls, pucks) and hard surfaces come with a certain degree of risk for broken foot and ankle bones.
- Stress fractures. Unlike other breaks, stress fractures are surface level cracks in bones that typically develop in response to overuse.
- Turf toe. In the earlier example of the soccer player, his big toe sprain is called turf toe. Many fans recognize the term because it can keep favorite athletes out of action for some time.
The important thing to remember when it comes to foot and ankle sports injuries is that they need to be properly healed before you get back to action. Remember, the pain you experience is really your body’s way of letting you know you need to rest. Of course, it’s also a sign that you should come see us here at Foot Specialists of Long Island!
Call our Massapequa, NY office if you are injured and in need of professional treatment. You can reach us at (516) 804-9038.