Posts for tag: ankle sprains
Tennis is an incredibly popular sport in the United States with almost 18 million recreational and professional players. With new technology and advances, the ball is flying faster than ever before which means we have to be going faster to keep up. This puts additional strain and pressure on our already taxed feet which can leave us open to many types of tennis injuries.
Ankle sprains are the most common tennis injury and can take a player out of the game for weeks or months at a time. Rapid changes in direction and jumping are two highest risk factors for ankle sprains and tennis has both. Ankle sprains happen when the ligaments of the ankle (most often the interior ligaments) are stretched or even torn due to unnatural movement of the ankle. Some players will wear an ankle brace on a weak ankle as a precaution. This is especially important if you have had prior ankle sprains as you have a higher reinjury risk.
You would recognize this injury as a pool of blood beneath your big toenail. The constant direction changes in tennis cause your feet to slide around inside your shoes. This can put undue pressure on the front of the toes and cause bruising beneath the nail. Your podiatrist can release the pressure and drain the blood in a single office visit. After bandaging, you can get back on the court, but if the nail needs to be removed, you might be out for a week or more.
These occur mostly in the calf and foot. Cramps are caused by loss of blood flow due to dehydration. Staying hydrated, wearing appropriate sweat-wicking clothing, and stretching before exercise can all help avoid muscle cramps. If you cramp during a match, you must rest completely until you have rehydrated and stretched. If you don’t, you could lead yourself down a path to chronic injury.
Straining of the calf muscle is a common occurrence in tennis and can take a player out for weeks. Everyone has a dominant leg and usually it is just a bit stronger than the other. You may also have imbalanced muscle groups (such as your thighs being stronger than your calves) which can lead to injury. If you land on the wrong foot or use your weaker leg to push off for a move, you could cause micro-tears in the muscle. Over time, this can cause chronic issues. Rest and physical therapy are the best ways to overcome muscle strains.
READ MORE: Strain or Sprain?
We talk about plantar fasciitis a lot because it is one of the most common causes of foot and heel pain. The plantar fascia, a band of tissue across the bottom of the foot, is used in every walking and running movement. When it is stretched or torn, it can cause intense pain. Wearing the right shoes with custom orthotics and stretching are great ways to avoid plantar fasciitis. If you experience heel pain, start with RICE and keep resting for longer than you normally would (a few weeks rather than a few days). If the issue does not resolve, you may need injections, tapings, casts, or even surgery. Resting now can avoid a longer recovery time later.
Tendonitis can be acute, caused by a sudden increase in exercise, or it can be chronic, a prolonged injury that flares up over time. Either way, it isn’t something you want to deal with. Keep your Achilles and calf muscle loose with daily stretching and strengthening exercises. Limited mobility of the ankle and tightness when you point your toes are signs that your Achilles tendon is stiff and could be susceptible to injury. Wearing a heel lift, especially when you are off the court, can help relieve strain on the Achilles.
READ MORE: Achilles Tendon Ruptures
This injury is more common amongst older tennis players because their heel pads (the fatty cushioning under your heel) have worn down over time and there is no longer enough cushioning between your heel and the ground. This injury is easy to treat with rest, ice, and extra padding in your tennis shoes. Talk to your podiatrist about gel heel cups to soften the impact. You’ll also want to see your podiatrist to rule out heel fractures which can present with bruising.
Although there are a lot of potential risks in tennis, many of them are easy to avoid when you stretch, wear the proper shoes, and exercise caution with your running and jumping. If you are experiencing a tennis-related foot or ankle injury, come see the FAAWC. We have more experience at keeping athletes on the court and can help put you back in the game, not benched on the sidelines. Don’t give up the sport you love because of a simple injury. Come see us today.
One minute you’re running down the field after the ball and in a split second your ankle twists and gives way. You fall, allowing the other team to score the winning point. Does that sound like a familiar scenario? For people dealing with ankle hypermobility, also known as weak ankles, this is a very real possibility.
What is a Sprain and Why is it Bad?
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments holding our ankle joint steady are stretched or torn, usually from a sudden twist such as a quick direction change or bad misstep. This can happen to anyone, but those with chronic instability will suffer repeated sprains, leaving ligaments looser each time. Cartilage and tendons are also affected by this trauma and arthritis can develop in the ankle joint. You can’t live an active lifestyle if your ankles can’t keep up.
READ MORE: Sprain or Strain?
Who Should Consider Surgery?
Minor sprains can be treated with RICE. Your podiatrist may also recommend physical therapy to strengthen muscles and tendons. Ankle braces should be worn for sports or any vigorous activity. If the ligament has torn completely apart, bracing and ankle exercises have not prevented further injury, or if you suffer two or more ankle sprains a year, you need to consider a surgical solution.
READ MORE: What is RICE?
Lateral ankle stabilization is the best approach to correct chronic ankle instability. Procedures are performed as an outpatient service (meaning you get to go home that same day) under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision on the outside of the ankle over the joint. Separated or torn ligaments will be sewn together while loose but intact ligaments are shortened and tightened. The ligament is then anchored to the fibula bone using special stitches or pins. The surgeon may connect other tissues to the repaired ligament for support. The incision is then closed, and your foot is wrapped in a cast or splint.
Patients will need to remain non weight-bearing with the cast or splint in place for 2 to 6 weeks, after which they will progress to a brace or walking boot. At this time, physical therapy to strengthen the ankle will begin. Patients should wear an ankle brace during sports and activities for a minimum of 6 to 12 months, though many choose to continue using it long after for added safety.
READ MORE: Chronic Ankle Instability
You should never have to sit out of the game due to chronic ankle instability or hypermobility. Ankle sprains do major damage to your joints and preventing this is the number one step in living a healthy and active lifestyle. All of the FAAWC podiatrists are board certified for Lateral Ankle Stabilization and other corrective surgeries. Talk to your podiatrist today if you are tired of persistent ankle sprains.
There are many parts of the foot and there are equally as many ways to damage all of them. One area of concern is our ligaments. Ligaments are thin bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones together at the joints. This is not to be confused with a tendon, which connects muscle to bone. Ligaments are tight yet springy so that joints can flex and return to a natural position. When we sprain a ligament, we stretch it further than it wants to go and it gets mad at us by swelling and becoming painful.
READ MORE: Sprain or Strain?
Sprains can come from any activity that twists the foot into an unnatural position. Twisting or rolling your ankle is the number one cause of sprained ligaments. These injuries tend to occur suddenly from a very identifiable cause such as jumping and landing on your foot wrong. The ankle is supported by four separate ligaments: the deltoid ligament, anterior talofibular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament, and the calcaneofibular ligament. (Don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on them). Any of these can be damaged or torn in a sprain.
A sprain comes in three grades of severity. Grade I is mild, usually with only minor swelling and pain. You should still be able to put weight on the foot as the joint is relatively stable. Grade II is, of course, a little bit worse; usually involving an incomplete tear in one or more ligaments. The ankle may not hold weight so crutches or a splint can help with mobility and support. Grade III is reserved for the most severe ligament damage. These ligaments have torn completely apart. You will not be able to move or put weight on the joint for some time.
If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, the best place to start is R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used. Swelling for a Grade I injury will begin to lessen within 24 to 48 hours. If your symptoms get worse after home remedy, go see your podiatrist. Any Grade II or III injury will need medical attention for proper treatment and healing. A 2 to 4 week recovery time can be expected for minor to moderate sprains. Sprains that need casts or splinting could take up to two months for healing. When your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you’ll want to gradually increase your activity. Partially healed sprains will not be strong enough to hold the joint stable and your chances of re injury are high.
READ MORE: Fix Sprains Forever!
Spraining ligaments isn’t hard to do, but its easy to avoid with some logical steps. Wear supportive shoes for every activity, especially sports. Strengthen your ligaments with simple exercises like ankle rolls or calf raises. While you’re sitting at your desk at work, cross your legs and use the raised foot to write the alphabet. Even if you don’t exercise your feet specifically, make sure to warm up muscles and ligaments with a good stretch before activity.
If you think you have sprained a ligament in your foot or ankle, make an appointment today. We provide urgent access to our doctors if you call 740-363-4373. Seeing your podiatrist can ensure a proper healing plan and save you money over other urgent cares or emergency rooms. Don’t delay!
May is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month.
If you weren’t aware that this even existed, you are not alone. After all, that’s what an awareness month is for, making us aware of a disease that doesn’t often get a lot of press.
In fact, Ehlers-Danlos is not just one syndrome; it’s a series of 13 connective-tissue disorders that result primarily in various joint and skin related issues, but sometimes manifest in dangerous ways. It all has to do with your genetics. In fact, it’s as common as 1 in 5,000 people. It affects any of 12 different genes, and which one determines how they appear in physical symptoms.
Many types have normal life expectancies, but some can result in shorter-than-expected lifespan or painful complications. The wide array of symptoms range from things you probably know like hyper-elastic skin or rheumatoid arthritis-like finger deformities and many obscure syndromes, such as levido reticularis or Arnold-Chiari malformation. Trust me, there’s too many to list here, so we’re just going to look at one type: hypermobility.
People with this type of EDS have very loose joints, which allows for excessive movement and flexibility. However, while it may look cool to bend your body in strange directions, this condition can have your joints dislocating frequently, causing painful and lasting damage. Physical evaluation and family history are the only tools for diagnosis, and there is no known cure for the disease, only treatment for its symptoms.
Don’t worry though. You should know by now if you have EDS. But it’s always worth a quick Google search to learn more about it, especially since you are now aware that it’s Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month!
A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away… just kidding, it was a grade school in Ohio… I remember a friend who would suffer an ankle sprain at least once a week during recess. Many of us thought she was possibly being over-dramatic, but some people do actually suffer from chronic ankle instability, which leaves them more prone to sprain and strains than the rest of us. This affects somewhere between 10 to 20 people out of every 100 who experience ankle sprains.
Based on the most current research, this isn’t necessarily a genetic condition. Most cases occur from a previous ankle sprain injury that does not heal correctly or fully. Those who ha e a high instep/arch are more susceptible since their feet do not adapt as well to unstable terrain as those with more flexible ligaments and arches. Patients report that after an initial sprain, their ankles feel less stable and have gotten more swollen and painful. Secondary complications may occur from this, including synovitis (joint swelling), tendonitis, and tendon tears. Instability can develop from overstretched or torn ligaments that grow back together too loosely. This affects the way bones and ligaments interact, which, of course, can cause more problems.
Our bodies react through a process called proprioception, which basically means our muscles react in a predictable way based on the chemical inputs they are receiving. This is what the subconscious parts of our brain do to control all motor functions in our body. If these receptors are not firing properly for our ankles, we may feel a constant sensation of instability of coordination.
If you experience chronic ankle instability, you have several treatment options based on the severity and longevity of the problem. Many patients are able to recover stability with simple exercises and the strategic use of an ankle brace. If only an ankle brace is used, coordination and strengthening exercises may be recommended as an important part of rehabilitation. In some cases, surgery may be the best option. Even after surgery, exercises and strict adhering to a doctor’s recommendations is the best option for a full and successful recovery.
Time is of the essence here. Early recognition and early treatment will mean a shorter recovery time and better future foot health for you. If you experience chronic pain from ankle sprains or any sort of injury, please visit your podiatrist to have an evaluation. Early recognition could mean the difference between several weeks of wearing a brace and strengthening exercises and a few months of surgical recovery. I say it in almost every blog post, but pain is NOT NORMAL. If you are still experiencing complications after an ankle sprain, please go see your podiatrist and get it check out before it become a chronic problem.