Not everyone loves college football, but if you’re from Ohio, it’s a requirement to cheer our teams on and no team keeps us excited about football like the Ohio State Buckeyes. Only two short days from now (Saturday the 2nd) they will face off with Wisconsin in a battle for the Big 10 Championship title. Of course this means we want our players performing at their very best which starts with the health of their feet.
There are 26 bones in each of your feet. These are held together by 33 joints and over 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles. That’s a grand total of 159+ things to worry about in the foot and ankle alone. Any one (or a number) of these things can be damaged by the repetitive motions found in football. Hundreds of punts each practice is a lot of impact on the same area of the foot. Running plays with long throws to wide receivers means a lot of running that day and a lot of heavy impact on the feet. Not to mention the direct impact a player’s feet could take from a cleat stomping down on it. All of these repetitive motions can lead to stress injuries. If treated properly and give rest, these injuries can heal, but if left untreated, they can lead to permanent disability.
Signs of a Repetitive Stress Injury
These injuries begin gradually with minor aches and pains during activity. This may lead to tingling, numbness, throbbing, tenderness, or weakness in the affected area during or after practice. If left untreated, the severity of the symptoms will increase and the pain will last for longer periods of time. This can cause a chronic condition and take you out of the game permanently.
Treatment for a Repetitive Stress Injury
The best treatment for these injuries is rest. Remove the action that is causing the stress and the injury can heal. If you catch this quickly enough, you may only have to rest for a day before you’re back to the playing field, but all too often, players push themselves through the pain and end up with extended recovery times of weeks or even months after ignoring the early warning signs of injury. The specific treatment you receive will depend on the diagnosis at the root of your injury. It could be a muscle, a tendon, a bone, your nerves, or any number of easily damaged spots. Regardless, pain means something is wrong and you need to be evaluated by your podiatrist. It doesn’t matter if you’re the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes or just starting out on the local youth football team, your foot health is important to keep you in the game and pain and injury free.