Shooting pain ripping through your foot can end the game of any athlete. Injuries are part of the deal when you play sports, but that doesn’t make them fun to deal with.
And if you play a sport that puts repeated pressure on the bottom of your foot, such as basketball, you’re at higher risk for foot and ankle fractures. Playing on an injured foot can worsen the injury and make it harder to heal. Next time you’re experiencing crippling pain from your feet, make sure that you seek the proper treatment.
Depending on the injury, you might be able to treat it at home and be back on your feet within a matter of days. Other times, you might have to visit a podiatrist in order to get a customized treatment plan.
Common sports-related foot injuries
Stress fractures and sprained ankles are common sports-related injuries. A stress fracture is different from a broken bone, because it is caused by repetitive stress placed on the bones in your feet and ankles. Ankle sprains are caused by twisting the foot in such a way that damages the ligaments of the foot. Stress fractures and sprained ankles can make it painful to walk.
Other painful foot injuries include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fascia, neuroma, and heel spurs. Athlete’s foot isn’t an injury but it is an infection that causes your feet to itch and burn. Talk to an athletic trainer to determine the cause of your pain.
Treating foot injury at home
If you’re experiencing a foot pain, keep the foot elevated and iced. Keep off your foot as much as possible until the pain subsides. If the pain lingers or your foot begins to swell, seek the advice of a medical professional.
Your trainer or doctor may have you wear a wrap, as well as give you some exercises that are meant to gently stretch the muscles in your feet. They’ll likely tell you a specific amount of time to stay off your feet. Whatever advice you receive, make sure to follow it. This is the easiest and fastest way you’re going to be back in the game.
When to visit a podiatrist
A podiatrist is a type of doctor that specializes in foot, ankle, and lower legs. You should visit a podiatrist when your doctor or trainer recommends it. You can also visit a podiatrist to get a second opinion or if the pain is lingering. The podiatrist will determine the best treatment plan.
For some injuries, this could mean wearing a brace or getting orthotics. For others, it could mean receiving physical therapy. In the case of most low-risk injuries, a podiatrist will use rest and nonsurgical procedures. However, for more serious injuries or for low-risk injuries that aren’t healing on their own, you may have to get surgery.
Finding the right podiatrist
The best way to find the right podiatrist is to ask for referrals. You can also research potential podiatrists online. Make sure that the podiatrist specializes in your injury and has a location nearby. For example, Essex Union Podiatry has a great website that clearly lists all of its various services and locations.
You want to find a reputable, knowledgeable podiatrist. Use reviews and/or testimonies to see what experiences other people have had. Look and talk to several podiatrists before committing to one. And, you should double-check that the podiatrist accepts your insurance. In some cases, you might be referred to an orthopedist after visiting the podiatrist.
Preventing future injuries
Once your foot is feeling better and you’re starting to play sports again, take care not to reinjure yourself. While some injuries can’t be prevented, there are certain things you can do to lessen your chances. Make sure you’re wearing supportive shoes that have proper cushioning and that fully protect your feet.
In addition to wearing protective shoes, make sure you wear breathable moisture-wicking socks when exercising. This can help prevent painful blisters from forming on your feet. You should also wash and dry your feet every day. This will help prevent infections, such as athlete’s feet. Proper care and maintenance of your feet impact your overall comfort.
While some pain is to be expected when playing sports, make sure to watch out for lingering pain on your feet. It could indicate an underlying condition. If resting and icing your feet doesn’t work, make sure to reach out to a medical professional to develop a treatment plan. Treating a minor injury is better than waiting for it to get worse.