Sports Medicine & Injuries

There are many different types of sports injuries and anyone who is athletic can sustain them.Whether the athlete is an elementary school student just learning to play soccer or a“weekend warrior” tackling the end zone, athletes of any age and skill can experience a sports injury. The importantthing is to get the injury diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately so that it does not become chronic pain and weakness.

We specialize in sports medicine, diagnosing injuries and treating them in a manner that is most appropriate for the athlete’s level of play.

The most common sports injuries that we treat are:

  • Sprains
  • Midfoot injuries
  • Fractures and stress fractures
  • Overuse injuries

 

1) Sprains

These can occur from almost any type of activity, from walking to playing basketball. A sprain (jump link to our page on ankle sprains)occurs when the tissue that attaches one bone to another (called a ligament) tears or stretches. Sprains can be suffered at different levels of severity, from minor to severe, and commonly occur in ankles, knees and wrists.

If you suffer a sprain, it will hurt to put pressure or stand on the area and it may be red and swollen. Sprains usually respond to rest, ice and elevation. You can read more about sprains and their treatment here (jump link to ankle sprains page).

2) Midfoot injuries

Injuries to the midfoot are common in many different kinds of sports. They are considered a “low-energy” injury and can occur after a twist and fall, or tripping over an upturned foot. It is commonly experienced by football and soccer players. The midfoot is a complex area of the anatomy. It contains a cluster of small bones that forms the arch on the top of the foot, long bones extend into the toes and numerous ligaments hold all of these bones together. The midfoot also performs a very important function- it stabilizes the arch of the foot and the way in which we walk. That’s why injuries to this area of the foot must be taken seriously and examined by a trained podiatrist as soon as possible.

The midfoot is also the location of the Lisfranc joint complex of bones, cartilage and ligaments. It is common to hear that someone has sustained a “Lisfranc injury”. The most common symptoms of Lisfranc injury include:

  • The top of foot may be swollen and painful.
  • Bruising on the top and bottom of the foot.
  • Pain that worsens with standing or walking.
  • Pain so severe that crutches are necessary to walk.
  • Rest, ice and elevation to not relieve pain and swelling.

Once injuries to the midfoot have been properly diagnosed through imaging, both non-surgical and surgical treatments exist. Non-surgical treatments include wearing a non-weight bearing cast for approximately six weeks. Surgical treatments include internal fixation and fusion of the bone. Our doctors can tell you which treatment is most appropriate and effective for the specific midfoot injury you have suffered.

 

3) Fractures and Stress Fractures

Commonly referred to as a broken bone, fractures are a fairly common sports injury caused by a one-time injury to the bone. Fractures can break the bone all the way through, and some may require surgery to repair. Breaks in the ankle and foot bones require special care because they directly impact the body’s stability, and ability to walk and balance.

A smaller type of fracture is called a stress fracture. It is caused by repeated stress on a bone over time, usually in repetitive motion sports like running, jumping, and kicking. Stress fractures can also be caused when activity suddenly changes- new exercises, more intense workout routines, running faster, and similar shifts in exercise. In fact, the most common cause of a stress fracture is a sudden increase in activity.

The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain that develops gradually and worsens when standing. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain that lessens or goes away during rest
  • Pain that gets worse during every day activities
  • The top of the foot and/or outside of the ankle swell
  • It is tender to the touch
  • Bruising on the skin

Treatments for fractures and stress fractures vary. They include wearing a short leg cast or brace, and non-weight bearing for about six weeks. Surgical treatments include bone grafting, screws, plates and wires to stabilize the bone.

4) Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries occur over time from repetitive activities. They are especially hazardous to children because they can adversely affect the growth plates- the area where bone growth occurs. Overuse injuries occur from repetitive motion activities like tennis, swimming, golf, soccer, baseball and softball pitching. When the area of the body that is used repeatedly doesn’t have time to heal between use, overuse injuries can occur.

When overuse injuries impact children, it can impact the growth of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bone, joints and the growth plates themselves. The normal growth of bone can be disrupted. This is why it is so important to be vigilant in watching the performance of children in athletics and guarding against rigorous performance that could affect their future growth and health.

Common overuse injuries in children result in heel pain, pain in the front of the knee and/or the lower portion of the knee cap, injuries to the elbow and the midfoot.

Symptoms of overuse injuries include:

  • General and continuous pain that cannot be attributed to a specific fall or point of impact.
  • Pain increases with activity.
  • Swelling
  • Changes in form or technique
  • Decreased interest in practice

Treatments for overuse injuries are as varied as the injuries themselves. They range from ice and rest to surgery and physical therapy. If you believe your child is showing the signs and symptoms of overuse injuries, call us immediately so that we can check them and begin appropriate treatment.

The best “treatment” is prevention. (Note- this section might be great for an infographic)

The best way to treat a sports injury is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. That is why we recommend that every person who participates in activities or exercise of any kind consciously practice sports injury prevention. Remember these things before every session:

  • Warm up
  • Stretch
  • Take your time
  • Wear proper footwear
  • Dress appropriately
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Cool down
  • Rest

Use the Ten Percent Rule

This is a great rule of thumb to follow when changing your activity level. The Ten Percent Rule says that you should increase activity levels no more than 10% per week. If you normally walk 1 mile a day, don’t suddenly walk 5 miles a day. Walk 1/10th of a mile more each week until you reach your increased activity goal. Do the same when increasing weights, the incline on a treadmill and other challenges. It will pay off with greater strength, improved fitness and no injuries!