Running, jumping, and kicking are all common movements in sports that involve our feet and ankles. The frequent usage of our lower extremities makes these parts of our body susceptible to various injuries. Whether we’re on the court or on the field, these two types of injury are always a risk. So, how can you prevent foot and ankle injuries, and how do you treat them? 

At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, our board-certified, fellowship-trained sports medicine specialists are dedicated to providing patients of all ages with accurate diagnoses and treatment options for foot and ankle injuries. Our services offer both nonsurgical and surgical options for patients struggling with lower extremity pain. Here is some useful information regarding treatment for foot and ankle injury and prevention tips to avoid this injury: 

Importance of Healthy Foot and Ankle Function 

We often take for granted the proper functionality of our feet and ankles until we are struggling with a debilitating or nagging injury. But healthy feet and ankles enable us to walk, run, and jump—key movements not only on the field but also in daily life. Poor foot health can not only lead to further lower extremity complications but can also result in back pain, problems with posture, and leg pain. Our feet and ankles serve as the foundation of our body’s support, posture, and balance. 

What Are Common Foot and Ankle Injuries? 

Did you know that, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 25% of all athletic injuries are foot or ankle-related? If you are an athlete who has experienced the pain of this type of injury, you know the frustration of sitting on the sidelines of both your sport and your day-to-day routines. Sports that involve frequent running or jumping movements, such as running, basketball, football, soccer, and dancing, can all lead to serious lower extremity problems. Common foot and ankle injuries sustained by athletes include: 

  • Ankle sprain- Occurs when the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together stretch or tear. Movements that trigger this injury include rolling, twisting, or turning your ankle in an awkward direction. 
  • Plantar fasciitis- Inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel bone (plantar fascia). This can cause severe heel pain.  
  • Stress fractures- A type of break or crack in the bones of your foot caused by overuse and repetitive impact. 
  • Contusions and bone bruises- A traumatic injury to the bone that can cause intense pain. It occurs when small blood vessels have been damaged and leak blood to the surrounding tissues and other blood vessels. You can experience this injury in the bones of your foot or ankle. 

Treatment for Sports Injuries: Focusing on Your Feet and Ankles

At OAA, we want you to get back on the field, court, or track. That is why our foot and ankle specialists offer cutting-edge, minimally invasive treatment techniques that make our sports medicine services unique. Radial Shockwave Therapy is a non-surgical procedure that can treat several foot and ankle conditions with a 72%- 80% success rate. 

How does it work? Let’s break it down: 

  • If you are experiencing chronic pain, your body’s defense mechanisms that respond to injury are no longer effective, causing you to feel no relief. 
  • The plus handpiece, part of the Radial Shockwave Therapy system, creates pressure waves that penetrate soft tissue and cause inflammation in the treated area.
  • The new inflammatory condition triggers your body’s natural healing response. The energy from the Radial Shockwave therapy causes the release of certain biochemicals from the cells in your soft tissue, expediting the body’s healing process. 

Other  treatments we offer include: 

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation): This is a common treatment method for acute foot and ankle injuries as it helps reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: In some cases, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce pain and swelling in the foot or ankle. 
  • Physical therapy for stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises that can help you bounce back from your injury. Our physical therapists will personalize a routine for each patient based on their current athletic level.
  • Braces and orthotics may also be recommended to stabilize or support the foot and ankle during activity.
  • Steroid injections can alleviate pain and inflammation in the affected area, providing temporary relief while your injury heals. 
  • Surgery (in more severe cases): Fractures, torn ligaments, or tendons may require surgical intervention. Our orthopaedic surgeons will evaluate your specific injury and determine if surgery is the best option. 

Get Back on Your Feet with OAA

Looking for a sports medicine doctor near you? Visit one of oursports medicine specialists to receive treatment and get back to the game you love. Do not allow your injury to continue disrupting your quality of life. Ourfoot and ankle surgery specialistsprovide treatment in Allentown, Bethlehem, New Tripoli, and Westgate, PA. 

If you’re struggling with a foot or ankle injury, our foot and ankle specialists atOAAwant to help. Reach out to the specialists at OAA for accurate diagnoses and specialized treatment options from our board-certified professionals.  If you’re ready to start living pain-free,schedule an appointment with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a sprained ankle to heal?

The severity of the ankle sprains can affect the healing time, but usually, it takes 4-6 weeks to fully recover from an ankle sprain. At OAA, we provide personalized treatment plans to help speed up your recovery process.

What is the difference between an ankle fracture and a sprained ankle?

Ankle fractures refer to a break or crack in one or more of the bones in your ankle, while a sprained ankle involves damage to the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together. Both can cause pain and difficulty walking, but a fracture often requires more extensive treatment. If you are experiencing ankle pain, it is best to consult with our foot and ankle specialist at OAA for an accurate diagnosis.

Can I still play sports with an injured ankle?

It is not recommended to continue playing sports with an injured ankle, as this can worsen the injury and delay healing. It is important to rest and allow your ankle to heal properly before returning to physical activity.