While sports can have its many benefits on the human body, the risks for injuries can sometimes be too great, especially in high-impact sports events like football, soccer, and even marathon and triathlon. Accidents can happen, too. For example, gymnasts can break their feet if they dismount rather poorly. Ballerinas can also suffer various types of injuries. Oftentimes the most often abused body part are the lower limbs – the legs and the feet and their associated joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is for this reason that some sports organizations include a professional podiatrist in their team in order to make sure that lower limb injuries are adequately and promptly managed.
These are entirely different from a podiatrist clinic simply because they are members of a particular sporting team. Clinics like the My Podiatrist clinic are more geared towards individual clients who may require help or assistance with their lower limb problems. Sports podiatrists, on the other hand, take care of the podiatric needs of the entire team. Nonetheless, both are dedicated towards the management of lower limb problems and the application of useful orthotic devices in order to both optimize lower limb function and allow faster healing of lower limb sports injuries.
But just what are the different types of sports injuries treated by a podiatrist?
One of the most common type of lower limb sports injuries is ankle sprain. This often results from an abnormal or excessive twitching of the ligaments in the ankle which leads to swelling and severe pain. This often occurs with rapid shifting movements such as soccer or football players who have to move swiftly with their feet to perform a quick shift in direction. The sudden movement can make the ankle to roll outward with the rest of the foot turned inwards. This can literally snap the ligaments of the ankle.
If not properly managed, chronic ankle sprains can lead to generalized weakness of the ankle joints as well as joint pain. This can lead to joint instability preventing the individual from ever walking or moving on his feet again. Management often involves resting the ankle for a good several days often with braces and the use of crutches. Additionally, ice compresses will be applied for the first 3 days in order to minimize the swelling. The podiatrist can apply an elastic compression bandage in order to help reduce the swelling in addition to elevating the injured ankle. Anti-inflammatory agents can also be provided.
For protection against further injuries, the podiatrist can design highly-customized braces and footwear to protect the injured ankle. Often high-top and lace-up shoes can help protect the ankles from further injuries.
When muscles are pulled beyond their limits or are overstretched, they run the risk of being torn or damaged. Muscle strain often results from inadequate warm-up before any physical activity. Additionally, poor muscle conditioning, overexertion, muscle fatigue, and poor flexibility have all been shown to produce muscle strain. This often occurs in individuals who jump, run, lose their footing, slip, throw something, and lift something heavy. Sports that involve repetitive motions can also lead to muscle strain.
Rest, ice compresses, compression bandages, and elevation of the injured limb will be the hallmark of muscle strain management. The podiatrist can help by making sure that the limb is perfectly immobile in order to facilitate faster healing. This means the podiatrist will have to design a footwear and a brace that will help minimize undue stress on the injured muscles.
Wearing tight shoes can restrict blood flow to the toes making the nails quite susceptible to breaking. Sports that require rapid shifting movements such as soccer and football often puts a lot of stress on the toes. Oftentimes the momentum of such forward movements are so great that the toes are pushed and crammed against the inner surface of the footwear. In quick sudden movements, toenails can literally break off. In most cases, the nails can turn black because of lack of oxygen and it just separate from the toe itself.
A sports podiatrist can help prevent this problem by creating a device that can be placed inside the shoes to protect the toes from hitting against the inner surface of the shoes. The insoles of the shoes are often raised to simulate the natural arch of the inside of the foot. This provides an anchor on the foot against moving forward against the shoe.
Very common among runners, ballerinas, dancers, and aerobic enthusiasts, plantar fasciitis occurs because of overstretching and sometimes tearing of the fascia. The plantar fascia is that thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom part of the feet and connects your heel bone to your toes. This tissue is like a bowstring that can get irritated or inflamed leading to pain and swelling.
The podiatrist can help by designing highly customized heel cups, arch supports, of even heel cushions in order to aid in the even distribution of pressure on your feet.
These are just some of the sports injuries that a podiatrist can treat. The important thing to understand is that, if there is any problem with your lower limbs, a podiatrist is your best resource.