Common Sports Injuries and Treatments to Look For

May 23, 2022

Spring has well and truly sprung, meaning many of us are looking forward to a summer of team sports, hikes, and other outdoor activities. However, spring and summer sports are associated with a variety of potential injuries related to the feet and ankles, some of which could leave you limping around in significant pain. 

Do not worry – we are not suggesting you sit at home all summer! By equipping yourself with a little knowledge about common sports injuries and treatments, you will know how to address them and minimize recovery time. To help you get started, we have put together a brief guide to some of the most common injuries we see at Crystal Coast Podiatry, as well as steps you can take to aid recovery.

Woman with a sports injury

Common Sports Injuries

Some of the most common injuries affecting the feet and ankles include:

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs when you overuse your Achilles tendon (the rubbery cord connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone). This injury is particularly common in long-distance runners and middle-aged people involved in weekend sports such as tennis, pickleball, racquetball, or football. Achilles tendinitis is more common in men than women and becomes more common as you age. People with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure and psoriasis are also at higher risk of developing Achilles tendinitis. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • A dull ache near the heel.
  • Severe heel pain following moderate to intense exercise.
  • Stiffness or tenderness near the heel upon arising after sitting or resting.

If your heel pain becomes intense and persistent with associated swelling, and you notice a palpable “bump” within the tendon, you may have torn your Achilles tendon. Such an injury requires immediate medical attention.

For some people, it is possible to reduce flareups of Achilles tendinitis by making a few simple lifestyle adjustments, including:

  • Increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts slowly to avoid over-training.
  • Avoid activities that take an excessive toll on the tendons, such as hill running.
  • Wearing supportive training shoes and replacing them every few months.
  • Stretching every day and engaging in calf-strengthening exercises.

Ankle Sprains

Sprained ankles occur when your roll or twist your ankle into an awkward position. Overstretching the ligaments that hold the ankle bones together can cause painful tearing that may take a few weeks or months to heal. Key symptoms to look out for include:

  • Ankle pain that gets worse when you bear weight on your foot.
  • Bruising around the ankle.
  • Instability in your ankle.
  • Swelling and tenderness.
  • A “popping” sensation when the injury occurred.

If your symptoms are very severe, you may have broken an ankle bone and should seek immediate medical attention.

Ankle sprains can happen to anyone, although they are more common in sporty individuals. Taking part in any activity that involves jumping, dancing, pivoting, or running on uneven surfaces will increase your risk of spraining an ankle. Wearing ill-fitting shoes or high heels will also leave your ankles more prone to injury.

Heel Pain

Many people complain about heel pain, particularly following intense periods of activity. Some of the most common causes of heel pain include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: This problem causes a sharp pain between the heel and the arch of the foot. Typically, this pain will subside when you are resting and flare up when you start walking.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis can cause a dull ache in the heel, as well as redness and swelling. This condition will prevent you from wearing a shoe with a closed back.
  • Achilles Tendinitis: As mentioned above, this condition causes pain in the back of the heel and the surrounding area.
  • Heel Fracture or Achilles Tendon Rupture: These issues require urgent medical attention and are usually characterized by difficulty walking, severe pain in the heel, and redness and swelling. If the pain makes you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseated, or your ankle seems to have changed shape, head to your nearest emergency room.

Most heel pain does not signify anything serious and will get better with rest and gentle stretching exercises.

Treatments for Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries

Struggling with a new foot or ankle injury? Do not fret! There are several treatment options for you to try in combination with rest (and a little patience). Your options include:

Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics are medical devices designed to correct issues with how you stand, walk, or run. Dr. Bobrowski also prescribes them to treat a range of conditions, including plantar fasciitis, bursitis, arthritis, and diabetes. In some cases, orthotics can reduce the need for invasive surgeries.

If Dr. Bobrowski decides that you need orthotics, he will take some non-weight-bearing impressions of your feet to send to a lab where the orthotics will be made for you.

Foot and Ankle Braces

Foot and ankle braces are relatively inexpensive devices designed to prevent ankle injuries by supporting the joints and ligaments that make up the foot. You may have noticed many fellow teammates, joggers, and gym-goers donning braces during strenuous exercise. If you have experienced a heel or ankle injury in the past, it is worth jumping aboard this trend to avoid re-injury.

MLS Therapy

Multiwave locked system (MLS) therapy uses light to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes and restore movement to the feet and ankles. This treatment reduces pain and heals injuries by helping cells remove toxins, blocking pain signals in the brain, and increasing blood flow to the injured area.

Get the Best Help with Your Sports Injuries

Do you struggle with heel, ankle, or foot pain after playing your favorite sports? Do not suffer in silence! Crystal Coast Podiatry is here to help restore your feet to their former glory so you can maintain your active lifestyle. Get in touch today by calling (252) 638-4700 or contact us online, to speak to a friendly member of our staff.