Athletes are constantly pushing themselves to the limits, putting pressure and strain on their bodies to perform. The feet are especially stressed, bearing as much as 20 times a person’s body weight or more during some activities. Though proper training, footwear and other precautions can help protect the feet during play, countless athletes suffer foot and ankle injuries every year. A sports related foot injury requires proper treatment and plenty of healing time to increase the chances of a full recovery.
Did you know…
that approximately 1 in 4 sports injuries is foot and ankle-related? In fact, foot and ankle injuries are responsible for 35 percent of all time lost to injuries in sports that require running or jumping. Though nearly all athletes are susceptible to foot and ankle injuries, those who participate in sports that require the feet as points of contact are most likely to develop sprains, tendonitis and other foot-related conditions. Examples include football, basketball, dance, soccer, cheerleading and track and field events.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of a sports related foot injury?
Sports-related foot and ankle injuries are most commonly caused by overuse, improper warm-ups, playing on a hard surface, or accidents during play. The symptoms will vary depending on the type of injury but may include pain, swelling, bruising and difficulty moving or putting pressure on the affected foot. Some injuries may cause numbness and tingling in the feet, and some injuries may cause a visible displacement of the joints or bones.
Why should I see a physical therapist for a sports related foot injury?
No one is more qualified to treat foot and ankle trauma than a physical therapist. Your physical therapist has a thorough understanding of the foot’s anatomy and kinesiology. Your doctor will use diagnostic imaging to help confirm the source of trauma in your foot and develop a plan for treatment. Failure to receive necessary treatment could affect the long-term outcome of an injury, potentially worsening inflammation and damage to joints, bones and soft tissues of the foot and ankle.
What types of treatments are available for sports-related foot injuries?
Treatment for athletic foot injuries is often non-invasive, requiring rest, ice, compression and elevation of the injury. However, some injuries are more severe and require greater interventions. Your physical therapist may recommend immobilization to prevent further injury and medication to help reduce inflammation. Rarely, a sports-related foot injury may require surgery. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks for an injury to heal, during which time you may need to refrain from athletic training or otherwise adopt a modified exercise schedule. Physical therapy may help you regain flexibility and restore strength to an injured foot or ankle.