Healthy ankles and feet take you where you want to go. That’s especially true in sports. All the running, twisting, turning, and pivoting you do in basketball, volleyball, and other constantly-moving games can be pretty much impossible without healthy feet and ankles.
But it’s not just the fast-paced, sweat-producing sports that need cooperation from your feet and ankles. Even a leisurely golf outing becomes incredibly painful with a foot or ankle injury. Let’s face it, just walking to the bathroom at home is hard when you’re hurt.
At Premier Podiatry, ankles and feet are our specialty and your good health is our passion. Dr. O’Connor is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon who is happy to share some info about foot and ankle injuries that’s based on his expertise and dedication to helping his patients play without pain. And no worries, surgery is usually the last resort in his world.
Once you’ve finished reading, take advantage of Premier’s summertime special—$50 off a pair of Custom Molded Orthotics or free refurbishment (top cover, padding) of your old orthotic when you purchase a new pair. It starts in May and runs through August, so there’s still time. You’ll understand why this isn’t just an empty promotion when you learn what custom shoe insoles can do.
Common foot and ankle injuries that can end your play
Ankle sprains: Probably one of the most common sports injuries, ankle sprains typically occur when your foot suddenly twists or rolls. This action forces the ankle joint out of its normal position and can cause ligaments supporting your ankle to stretch or tear.
Achilles tendon disorders: The Achilles is the strongest tendon in your body. It attaches your calf muscles to your ankle and makes it possible to lift your heel.
Problems with the Achilles range from inflammation (Achilles tendonitis) to tears or complete rupture of the tendon and are often due to micro-injuries or tears sustained during repetitive, high-impact activity, such as running, football, soccer, or basketball.
Heel pain: Sometimes due to stress fractures, nerve injuries, or other conditions, heel pain is most often related to plantar fasciitis.
This occurs when the web-like tendon (plantar fascia) that connects your heel to your front foot becomes inflamed and painful. Faulty foot structure, such as flat arches, worn shoes, or wearing the wrong shoes for your sport are common causes of plantar fasciitis.
Stress fracture: These hairline fractures in bone tend to occur with repetitive activity such as running and often present themselves when you begin a new exercise or get back to an old favorite. Flaws in your foot structure and inappropriate footwear can lead to stress fractures.
Treating and preventing foot and ankle injuries
At Premier Podiatry, we follow a patient-focused rather than a one-size-fits-all treatment approach. The therapy we recommend depends on the extent and nature of your injury or problem.
For a mild ankle sprain, we may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to help reduce the swelling, wrap your ankle for comfort, and ask you to rest, ice, and elevate the ankle until you’re ready for rehab.
Moderate to severe sprains may require stronger pain relief and a brace or walking boot to help immobilize the ankle so the ligaments can heal. The stability provided by a boot or brace also decreases pain.
Rarely, if your sprain is very severe or you have a history of repeated sprains, we recommend surgery to repair significantly stretched or torn tendons and restore stability to the joint.
If you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, we may provide specialized Kinesiology taping to reduce the strain on your plantar fascia.
We also use K-Laser® therapy for plantar fasciitis. This innovative and often relaxing treatment uses advanced technology to increase circulation, decrease inflammation, and promote healing.
Regardless of your sports injury or chronic condition, we also spend time evaluating your shoe gear, sports and activity habits, and the structure of your ankles and feet.
This provides the details we need to design a guided physical therapy and rehab program that will speed your healing and help prevent future injury. We’ll also coach you on proper technique and exercise regimens for home that help keep your ankles and feet healthy.
How custom orthotics help
Our custom orthotics (shoe inserts) offer the preventive care and individualized treatment we value here at Premier Podiatry. They minimize pain and provide much needed cushioning and support for fallen arches and a wide variety of other structural abnormalities.
Each pair is created from a dynamic digital scan of your feet and covered with long-lasting material you can have refurbished when necessary.
If you’ve got ankle and foot issues interrupting your sport or want to make sure yours stay healthy, schedule an appointment at Premier Podiatry today.