Injuries sustained during sport are one of the most common ways we hurt ourselves. They result across a spectrum of accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises.
As you can imagine, foot and ankle injuries are incredibly common in sport. Fortunately, the most common sports injuries are simple sprains and strains, but many serious injuries can happen too. These range from bone fractures, joint dislocations and cartilage damage through to severe ligamentous tears or rupture of the Achilles or other ankle tendons.
The most common treatment recommended for an injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation, and referral as required (RICER).
- Rest: Avoid activities that may aggravate the injury.
- Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area, which will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days. Never place ice directly on the skin.
- Compression: Compression of the injured area also helps reduce swelling. Elastic wraps (ie tubigrip), air casts and splints can all accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above your heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
- Refer: See your GP, sports medicine physician or orthopaedic surgeon if the injury is not getting better with simple treatment.
Prevention of Injury
Some simple measures to help avoid sports-related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen your muscles.
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing it.
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear, particularly athletic shoes, before playing any sports activity.
- Make sure that you perform warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after the sports activity. Exercises will help stretch muscles, increase flexibility and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing.
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.
Common Foot & Ankle Sports Injuries
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