Football players can be vulnerable to a number of different injuries on the field, particularly foot and ankle injuries. Such injuries can occur from a variety of factors, such as direct trauma during a tackle, running, or from side to side cutting. Some injuries can be complex and in order to treat them successfully, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are required to ensure the best outcome.
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle become over-stretched or torn. Ligaments are the strong bands of tissue that connect the bones in the ankle and give it its stability. It is one of the most common types of football injuries and can result from falling, running on uneven surfaces, twisting, or direct trauma to the joint, such as during a tackle. It may cause symptoms including swelling, pain and bruising, and limited range of motion around the joint. Sometimes, a popping sensation may be felt at the time of injury.
A light sprain may only take a few days to heal and can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), but a major sprain or several minor sprains can lead to permanent ankle instability. It is important to seek treatment and rehabilitation for a sprained ankle to avoid repeated sprains and to prevent long term damage.
Turf toe is a sprain that affects the main joint of the big toe. This type of injury has become more prevalent in American football players due to artificial turf becoming more common on playing fields. Artificial turf is harder and offers less shock absorption than grass. This type of injury occurs when the big toe is hyper-extended beyond its normal range of motion. It may occur when another player falls on the foot, or from continually pushing from the toes while running or jumping. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury but may include RICE, physical therapy, and for more severe injuries, surgery.
A Jones fracture is a break between the base and middle part of the fifth metatarsal – the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the smallest toe. It can occur by rolling the ankle or when the toes are pointed and the foot bends inwards, such as when changing direction while the heel is off the ground. It may also result from overuse or repetitive stress on the bone. This type of fracture may cause pain (near the outer-midportion of the foot), bruising, and difficulty walking. Treatment may include a cast or foot support for 6-8 weeks or surgery.
Achilles Tendonitis and Rupture
The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower part of the leg and connects to the heel. It is the most powerful tendon in the body. It can be very vulnerable to injury in football and other sports that require quick forward and backward leg movements, sudden accelerations, jumping, and cutting that can create an imbalance of pressure on the leg and foot. The Achilles tendon can rupture when the flexed foot sustains a sudden strong force causing the calf muscles to powerfully shorten, or from a condition called Achilles tendonitis, which causes chronic inflammation of the tendon, causing it to weaken over time.
An Achilles tendon rupture can cause severe, sudden pain, and difficulty walking. Depending on the level of damage, casting, physical therapy, or surgery may be required to treat the injury.
Comprehensive Care for Foot and Ankle Injuries in St. Peters and O’Fallon, MO
If you have a sports-related foot or ankle injury, seek treatment from Advanced Bone & Joint. We treat a variety of common sports-related foot and ankle injuries and have a board-certified, fellowship-trained sports medicine physician on-site to provide the comprehensive care you need to back to your sport and to prevent future injuries.
To find out more about the comprehensive foot and ankle care that we provide, call us today at (636) 229-4222 or request an appointment now. We provide all services on-site in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri.