Foot and ankle injuries are utterly common among runners, marathoners, tennis players, basketball players, soccer players, gymnasts, and skaters, etc. Apart from professional athletes, foot and ankle injuries are also common among weekend worriers and those who perform high-intensity physical activities.

Whether you injure your foot or ankle, it can reduce your mobility and keep you from participating in sports until you recover from the injury. Therefore; it's highly essential for athletes to learn how to prevent injuries.

And when it comes to avoiding injuries, you shouldn't only focus on increasing your practice sessions but should also look for an experienced coach, who can monitor you while playing. They will not only educate you about your game but will also teach the necessary techniques to avoid injuring.

Here are the foot and ankle injuries that affect the performance of athletes.

Foot Sprains

A foot sprain is nothing but a tear of ligaments, which are the flexible fibrous connective tissues that help connect bones in a joint. Based on the severity of the injury, sprains fall under three different categories which include mild, moderate, and severe. 

Foot sprains either occur in the midfoot or first metatarsophalangeal joint - a joint that's located at the bottom of your big toe.

According to Harvard Health Publishing "The midfoot is the central area that includes the arch of the foot. In athletes, midfoot sprains usually occur because of a sports-related fall, a collision or an isolated twist of the midfoot, particularly during snowboarding, windsurfing, horseback riding or competitive diving. "

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the primary sources of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of plantar fascia, which is a thick ligament or a fibrous band of tissue that runs from your heal to toes. 

The ultimate function of this ligament is to support the muscles of the foot. However, when it gets inflamed, it fails to perform its job. So, if you are a runner and you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, it will surely reduce your performance. 

According to NCBI, "Plantar fasciitis is the result of degenerative irritation of the plantar fascia origin at the medial calcaneal tuberosity of the heel as well as the surrounding perifascial structures."

If you wear uncomfortable shoes, have tight Achilles, or have flat feet, then you are vulnerable to plantar fasciitis. People who struggle with this condition experience moderate to severe pain in their heels as soon as they wake up from the sleep in the morning. 

According to Priority Physical Therapy in Florence, SC, "Plantar fasciitis, a common painful inflammation of plantar fascia - fibrous band of connective tissue, most easily recognized by its tendency to cause pain first thing in the morning."

Ankle Fractures

Broken ankle or fractured ankle is a common problem that affects thousands of athletes across the world. If you fracture more than one bone, you will not only experience a lot of pain, but it will also prevent you from walking.

Osteochondral Lesions Of The Talus

Osteochondral lesion of the talus (OLT), which cause a lot of pain and discomfort is an ankle injury or injury to the talar articular cartilage. This injury can keep you from carrying out your daily activities with ease and can also affect your athletic performance.

Achilles Tendonitis 

If you are experiencing pain at the back of your ankle, then perhaps you are suffering from a problem called Achilles tendonitis, which affects Achilles tendon -a band of fibrous tissue that links your muscles to bones in the ankle joint. 

Treatment for foot and ankle injuries

Sports injuries such as foot and ankle injuries have both physical and mental effects on athletes. Injuries not only lead to severe pain but they also increase the risk of problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, whenever you injure yourself, it's necessary that you take the right action as soon as possible to recover from it.

Seek Physical Therapy

One of the most significant ways to recover from sports injuries is to seek physical therapy from a well-known and experienced physical therapist. Your therapist will discover the exact structure affected by the injury, and will then design a care plan to heal it. Whether you injure your muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones, your therapist will use the most appropriate physical therapy techniques to cure the affected part.

Your therapist will continue to monitor your recovery process until you get back to your normal life. In case the treatment they are providing is unable to work for you, they will make the required changes to it. For example, if they are using manual therapy techniques to reduce your pain and heal your injury, but those techniques are not showing any concrete results, then they might use other crucial physical therapy techniques like Kinesio Taping, dry needling, and acupuncture, etc. 

Apart from that, your therapist might also incorporate therapeutic exercises into your care plan to speed up the healing process. Physical therapy techniques not only help in reducing pain and swelling, but they speed up the potential of your body to heal naturally by increasing circulation - which helps in supplying the nutrients to the injured part. 

Published by Rozy Andrew