This article is from the American Podiatric Medical Association:
After several exciting weeks in the 2009 football season, one of the most talked-about storylines is not the amount of game-changing interceptions or which player to watch for MVP—but who is latest star to succumb to a foot injury. In the National Football League, several players have been forced to the sidelines with lower limb injuries. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been diagnosed with severe plantar fasciitis, an irritation of the foot’s connective tissue. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl champion running back Willie Parker continues to battle a case of turf toe that has left him absent from the playing field.
With foot injuries abounding in the sports headlines, athletes are reminded once again by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), in partnership with the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM), of the importance of both preventing and caring for foot and ankle injuries. Professional and amateur athletes alike in fall sports, such as football and lacrosse, are considered at very high risk for injuring lower limbs during play. This is due to the extreme amounts of stress placed on the ligaments and joints of the feet.
"Many fall sports athletes look to compete their hardest on the field—even after being diagnosed with a foot or ankle injury by a podiatrist or other medical professional," said Dr. Bruce Williams, Past President of AAPSM. "However, not taking foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, sprains and turf toe seriously—and continuing to play a sport on an injured foot or ankle—can aggravate and worsen these ailments, and delay or significantly worsen the healing process." Athletes can avoid being tackled by foot ailments by educating themselves on how to prevent putting themselves at risk. The following are some of the most common foot and ankle injuries that occur in fall sports, as well as treatments and preventative tips recommended by the APMA:
Plantar Fasciitis – A common injury in sports that include running and jumping, plantar fasciitis is caused by an irritation of the band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. Treatment – Resting the injured fascia is paramount to quick recovery. Applied cold therapy, gentle stretching, night splints and custom foot orthotics may all be prescribed by a podiatrist. Tips – Spending time stretching before and after all practices and games may help prevent this condition.
Turf Toe – Named for the artificial playing field on which it is common, turf toe is a painful hyperextension of the big toe joint. Competing on artificial turf is the leading cause of this condition, but it can also occur on natural surfaces such as grass. Treatment – Treatment usually includes the “RICE” regimen—which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation—as well as taping and initially limiting the range of motion utilizing graphite toe plates. Tips – Wearing a stiffer shoe can prevent aggravating turf toe further. Customized foot orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist may also be worn during play to protect the toes and foot.
Sprains/Strains – Hard sprinting in practices and games often leads to stretched or torn ligaments (known as sprains) or muscles and tendons (strains). Severe sprains may also cause significant swelling and bruising. Treatment – Sprains that don’t show improvement in three days should be seen by a podiatrist immediately. Possible casting, immobilization and a rehabilitation regimen may all be prescribed. Tips – Take part in proper warm-up exercises before and after home workouts, practice and games. Spend five to 10 minutes stretching, holding and relaxing muscles. Seek input from a podiatrist for chronic ankle sprains. Orthotics may also be prescribed.
Please call our office to schedule an appointment if your child is has an sport related injury!