Athletes with Foot Problems Make News Again in May 2015

Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015In late May 2015, several athletes with foot problems made the national news. Perhaps you’ve heard about the one involving basketball star, Kyle Korver? During an Eastern Conference final against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he unfortunately sprained his right ankle. The 34-year-old pro is expected to spend some time off of the courts recovering. Of course that’s the kind of news that will likely dampen the mood of even the most optimistic Atlanta Hawks fans.

Over the years, much has been written about foot problems in sports and ankle sprains in particular. Studies have been conducted on the topic for decades too. One of the more recent ones was published in a January 2010 issue of The Journal of Family Practice. Although dated, it is in lock step with previous studies and makes a strong argument for the use of preventive medicine.

Podiatrists Recommend Being Proactive Regardless of Career Status

Preventive medicine has obviously come a long way since 2010. As such, athletes with foot problems have a variety of treatment options at their disposal. We’ve listed some, but not all of the treatment options below:

  • Temporary Cessation of Activity or Early Retirement
  • Use of Standard or High-Tech Orthotics
  • Proprioceptive Therapy or Training
  • Use of Special Athletic Shoes (Varies by Sport)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Use of Sports Tape and Specialty Braces
  • ROM and Strength Training Exercises

Of course the list of suggested treatments for athletes with foot problems will vary based on the types of injuries involved. Ankle sprains tend to be among the most common and insidious for athletes because of the potential for long-term effects. For example, athletes that sustain grade three ankle sprains are very likely to experience ligament weakness for extended periods of time. As such, their careers, not to mention their health, may take unexpected hits. To learn more about athletic related ankle injuries, please consult with a podiatrist.

Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015

Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015In early 2015, a number of professional athletes were temporarily put out of commission thanks to broken ankles. Among them were University of Kentucky’s Janee Thompson and Los Angeles Kings’ Tanner Pearson.

Thompson reportedly broke her tibia and Pearson, as it later turned out, actually broke his fibula. Both are two of the three bones that make up the top ankle joint. The other is the talus. It should also be mentioned that there is another joint in the foot that connects the ankle bone to the heel bone. It’s called the subtalar joint but apparently neither athlete broke that one this time around.

When the tibia, fibula or talus breaks, it can be quite traumatic for athletes and everyday Joes alike. In most cases, swelling and severe pain are immediately present and the injured person can no longer stand up without assistance. As time goes on, bruising is also likely to appear on and around the broken bones. After the injury, it is extremely important that the accident victim’s broken ankle is examined and repaired. Otherwise, the deformities could become permanent, thereby rendering the person disabled.

Furthermore, if the person who sustains the broken ankle hasn’t finished growing yet (e.g. child), he or she will need to be closely monitored for bone or joint weakness and deformities long after the initial injury has been treated. The extended monitoring period is crucial to ensure that the broken ankle doesn’t interfere with the leg and foot bones’ normal growth as time goes on. In most instances, the extended period will last at least two years, maybe more depending on the individual’s normal growth rate and unique circumstances.

The severity of the injury will dictate which treatment methods are used. Options often include, but are not limited to emergency surgery, casting and post-surgery rehabilitation. Depending on the situation, full recovery from broken ankles may take two months or more. As such, the two athletes that we mentioned earlier are likely to be off of their respective courts for at least part or all of a full season. To speak with a St. Louis podiatrist about broken ankles and best practices to ensure the bones heal properly, please click here.

Broken Ankle & Foot Injuries May Warrant Testing for Compartment Syndrome

Broken Ankle & Foot InjuriesAs we all know, there are many different foot and ankle injuries that may befall an individual. However, some of the most life altering ones are crushing injuries. They, by their very nature, have the ability to cause widespread and sometimes irreversible damage to the foot and ankle. That’s why many Farmington podiatrists believe in examining patients with broken ankles and crushed feet for signs and symptoms typically associated with compartment syndrome.

Compartment syndrome is primarily associated with crushing injuries that involve osseofascial compartments. Osseofascial compartments are found in a human’s limbs. They are actually closed segments within the limbs that are defined by fascia and bone. The foot alone has at least six such areas. They are known as the calcaneal, lateral, interosseous, superficial, adductor and medial compartments. The ankle is also affected by the four compartments that exist in the lower leg. They are known as superficial posterior, anterior, lateral and deep posterior compartments.

Within the defined borders mentioned above are muscles, soft tissue, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. As such, the areas have their own interstitial pressure level, which may be altered by crushing injuries and certain diseases. Once that pressure level is altered, it may disrupt the normal flow of blood. That, in turn, may cause tissue death, nerve damage, skin tightness and the formation of foot and ankle ulcers.

To determine whether or not a person has compartment syndrome, podiatrists may order an interstitial pressure test or CT arthrography and conduct a physical exam. If the interstitial pressure in the broken ankle or foot needs to be adjusted, a podiatrist may recommend that the patient undergo a fasciotomy.

It is a complicated, surgical procedure designed to immediately reduce the pressure in the affected area or areas. Afterward, the patient must typically restrict his or her movements for a minimum of five days and then potentially undergo a second surgical procedure to permanently close the open incisions (e.g. skin grafts). Once the second surgery has been completed, the patient may be faced with additional downtime.

In other instances, podiatrists may suggest that the patients with broken ankles try bed rest, foot elevation, anti-inflammatory medications, pneumatic intermittent impulse compression devices and splinting instead. It really all hinges upon how severe the change in pressure is and how long it has been left unchecked. To learn more about compartment syndrome and the treatments involved, please contact your local podiatry office.

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Just Like Us: Athletes With Foot Problems

Two female athletes playing beach volleyballProfessional athletes are not just the spokespeople for the various foot care products we see on television commercials. Since many pros have a rigorous schedule of practicing and playing a sport, their feet are especially prone to the same foot & ankle problems that we might also experience. Here are just a few athletes with foot problems:

Richard Sherman

In the most recent SuperBowl game, this Seattle Seahawks cornerback was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury after tackling someone from the opposing team. Writhing in pain on the field from the high sprain, he was forced to support himself on crutches on the field when the Seahawks celebrated their win later on in the night.

Paula Radcliffe

Runners are especially tough on their feet as they pound the ground for prolonged periods of time, so it is no wonder that this women’s world marathon record holder is on our list. In fact, Paula Radcliffe had to pull out of the London Olympics in 2012 at the last minute due to a complex surgery that was performed to try to regrow missing cartilage in her foot.

The Nets, Giants, and Devils

According to Dr. John McNerney, the podiatrist for these three teams, an extremely high percentage of basketball, football, and hockey players deals with toenail fungus infection. This is a common injury for athletes due to a combination of brutal physical activity and sweat.

Michael Phelps

Sometimes athletes have foot problems that occur outside of the sport they make headlines with. For this Olympic swimming legend, walking miles on a golf course was what put him in a cast for a stress fracture.

Again, foot & ankle problems are universal. Just because you may not be a professional athlete does not mean you cannot receive professional foot care from your Missouri podiatrist! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Tips to Prevent Running Knee Injuries

Treatment for Running Knee InjuriesRunner’s Knee is a common injury among runners often caused by the following: overuse, misalignment of the bones, weak muscles, or a direct blow or trauma to the knee. Although you always risk injury when you run, many injuries, such as runner’s knee can be prevented. Here are some tips to prevent knee running injuries.

  • Strengthen Muscles:

    Strong core, hip and leg muscles keep your body aligned while you run. All of these muscles, especially the hips, prevent knee injuries. When your hips are weak or tight, the movements of your knees become limited. Running without this knee mobility forces your body out of alignment and strains the ligaments surrounding your knees. Incorporate light strength training in your workout regimen of these areas.

  • Stretching:

    As mentioned above, flexibility in your hips can save your knees a great deal of pain. Stretching not only gives you the flexibility needed for running, but it strengthens and warms up your muscles. Stretch the back of your legs lightly before and deeply after your run. These muscles tend to get tight during a run which creates pressure and strain on your knees.

    A great stretch to protect your knees is called “The Chair”. The Chair opens up your hips and strengthens the back of your legs and the ligaments surrounding your knees. To enter this position, stand with your feet forward, six inches apart. Stretch your arms over your head while you sit back into an imaginary chair. Bend your knees. Your back will arch and your torso will lean forward. Breathe through the stretch. As you become more flexible, you will eventually be able to bring your thighs parallel to the floor.

  • Cross Train:

    Running is hard on your knees. So to prevent knee injuries, introduce other exercises in your weekly routine. Pick exercises that are low impact on your knees, as the goal here is to give your knees a break. Try swimming or biking. The key is to listen to your body. If a certain body part is sore or tired, choose an exercise that doesn’t rely on those muscles. This way your body can recover, while you are still being active.

Always remember…if you experience any discomfort in you feet or ankles before or after a run you should contact your Missouri podiatrists.


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