Much like hand and wrist injuries, ankle and foot injuries occur regularly, both on the sports field and off of it. Turf toe, Achilles tendon ruptures (tears), sprains, and fractures are some of the most frequent foot and ankle injuries. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand immense stress, it is still vulnerable to injury. A rupture is when the muscle fibers tear and separate, rendering it unable to perform its regular function.
The most common cause of foot injuries such as fractures include falls or crush injuries (falls from heavy objects onto foot or automobile accidents) If it is painful to put your full weight on your foot and walk around normally, you may have sustained some type of ankle or foot injury. Your doctor may perform an X-ray or an MRI in order to determine the nature of the injury. Treatment may include orthotics, casts, medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
The RICE method is effective for grade 1 Turf Toe injuries.
· REST: Take a break from the activity that caused the injury and avoid walking or putting weight on your foot.
· ICE: Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
· COMPRESSION: To help prevent additional swelling, wear an elastic compression bandage.
· ELEVATION: To reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and prop your leg up so it is higher than your heart.
Anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help to provide some symptom relief. Pain with a grade 1 sprain is usually tolerable and the athlete can continue to play with a stiff-soled shoe.
In order to keep the joint immobilized the patient may need to wear a walking boot for at least a week. After the walking boot is removed the patient will need to manage the injury with a taping regiment and treatments for the grade 1 Turf Toe.
Grade 3 Turf Toe is typically treated by immobilizing the joint while keeping the toe pointed down for several weeks. As the injury improves treatment will be stepped down to grade 2 and grade 1. Physical therapy should begin as soon as symptoms allow. Early joint movement is essential for reducing stiffness in the joint.
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bones that can be caused by overuse and repetitive activity and are considered common in athletes who participate in running intensive sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and track.
Weight-bearing activities tend to gradually worsen pain for these types of injuries due to the nature of the fracture. These injuries can also occur due to the shock of a new activity that the body isn’t used to performing where muscles and tissues aren’t as developed, leaving the bones more vulnerable to stress fractures due to pressure and weight. The weight-bearing bones in the lower legs and the feet are more susceptible to these injuries because of the repetitive forces that get absorbed in such activities like running and jumping.
Refraining from the activity that you believe to have caused the fracture is key to recovering, and beware of returning to quickly back to said activity before the fracture heals, as it can lead to a complete fracture and can take much longer to recover from.
Sprained ankle is a common injury in sports medicine and can be caused when the foot is twisted unexpectedly during a large variety of activities. A sprained ankle is usually painful and has symptoms such as swelling, bruising, tenderness, and in more severe cases it may cause the ankle to be unstable. Almost all ankle sprains can be treated without surgery. Even a complete ligament tear can heal without surgical repair if it is immobilized appropriately.
A three-phase program guides treatment for all ankle sprains—from mild to severe: This three-phase treatment program may take just 2 weeks to complete for minor sprains, or up to 6 to 12 weeks for more severe injuries. The RICE method along with anti inflammatory medication are also effective at home treatments
Phase 1: includes resting, protecting the ankle and reducing the swelling.
Phase 2: includes restoring range of motion, strength and flexibility.
Phase 3: includes maintenance exercises and the gradual return to activities that do not require turning or twisting the ankle. This will be followed later by being able to do activities that require sharp, sudden turns (cutting activities)—such as tennis, basketball, or football.