Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries

We may not be as fast as cheetahs or acrobatic as monkeys, but humans are still built to move. This means that your foot and ankle structures are designed for both wide flexibility and major force absorption.

However, our bodies are not invincible. Sometimes we take on too much force for one reason or another, resulting in a sports injury that forces us to slow down—or at least should.

Taking proper care of a sports injury both in terms of recovery and reconditioning are both essential to reducing risks of further problems and complications in the future. Our experts here at Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois can help athletes of all stripes and levels receive the best treatment for their needs.

Types of Sports Injuries

Sport injuries can be separated into two categories. Traumatic injuries vs. overuse injuries.

Traumatic injuries are caused by sudden, severe force or impact that creates an injury. This can be a result of landing on the wrong foot, twisting an ankle, car accident, and dropping something on the foot.

Common traumatic injuries include but not limited to:

  • Ankle sprain

Overuse injuries occur when the body takes on more than the normal stress. This can be a result of starting a new workout, starting to workout out again, a new job that requires more time on your feet, or accumulation of sustained force over time without the opportunity to recover (such as running too much without a recovery day).

Common overuse injuries include but not limited to:

How did it happen?

Ankle sprain is usually caused by improper shoe gear, gait instability, or trauma. Individuals with a cavus foot type (supinated foot), are inheritably prone to inversion ankle sprains. However, their risk for ankle sprain increases if they wear shoes that exaggerate the condition (e.g. supinated shoes). Gait instability is seen more commonly in older individuals or in individuals who are recovering from trauma (e.g. car accident, stroke, etc.).

An ankle sprain is an injury of the ankle joint. At the time of injury, the foot is most commonly in an inversion position. When the foot is in that position, the lateral collateral ligaments (ligaments on the outside of your ankle) can be damaged. It is important to note that repetitive ankle sprains can lead to ankle instability, ankle synovitis, and osteochondral lesion.

Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon secondary to overuse. This usually happens in individuals who are active or stand/walk a lot for work. Posterior tibial tendon, peroneal tendons, and Achilles tendon are most commonly affected.

Metatarsalgia occurs when pain is present on a certain location of your foot secondary to an existing foot condition. The most commonly seen location is under the second metatarsal head. In other words, pain under the balls of the feet. Sub second metatarsal head pain can be caused by a short first metatarsal, hallux limitus, or elevated first metatarsal.

What are my options?

Acute ankle sprains should be treated aggressively so your return to activity will not be delayed. Keep in mind that if you cannot walk or see severe bruising along your ankle or foot, you should see a doctor immediately to rule out any fractures. Also, try your best to not walk on that limb to prevent further injury.

If you can still walk with minimal pain and no bruising is noted, you can try RICE at home. RICE therapy focuses on Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. RICE helps reduce the swelling which in turn help with the pain. RICE is recommended for two weeks with limited activities. If pain fails to improve at the 2 weeks mark, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor for further evaluation.

Recurrent ankle sprains are problematic as they can affect your daily life activities and cause more issues down the line. The most common result of recurrent ankle sprain is ankle synovitis (a condition in which the soft tissue lining of the ankle joint becomes inflamed), which can cause ankle pain, and osteochondral lesion (a defect in the cartilage of a joint and the bone underneath). An osteochondral lesion can also cause ankle pain. With this condition, the longer it goes untreated the more damage it can create which can eventually lead to surgery.

Tendinitis responds very well to conservative treatment. Conservative treatments include but not limited to immobilizing, bracing, limiting activities, aqua roll therapy, MLS laser therapy,  physical therapy, EPAT shockwave therapy, and orthotics.

If the condition is chronic and fails to improve with conservative treatments, advanced imaging is needed. Successful treatments for this chronic condition depend on the results of the physical exam and advanced imaging.

Metatarsalgia can be effectively treated by custom insert to accommodate for the deformity. Surgical treatment is usually not necessary.

Get the Care You Need and Get Back in the Game

Don’t wait on getting the treatment you need for a sports injury. The sooner it’s addressed, the quicker you will be able to get back to full strength!

Call any of our area offices to schedule an appointment with us. If you have any questions or just prefer to contact us electronically, please feel free to fill out our online contact form instead.

For New Patients

Your first visit to Advanced Foot and Ankle Centers of Illinois establishes a vital foundation for our relationship with you. During the first visit, we make sure to obtain important background information, like your medical history, and give you time to get to know your doctor.

All our offices use an electronic check-in system called PHREESIA. There is no paperwork to fill out beforehand, but it is still a good idea to arrive a few minutes earlier for your appointment.

Being well prepared for your appointment will ensure that your doctor has all the information needed to provide the best possible care for you. It will also help relieve any unnecessary anxiety you may be feeling. Please feel free to review the educational materials and doctor bios provided on this website as well.

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