Sports Injuries and Podiatric Care

Sports-related injuries involving the foot and ankle are common for athletes. Podiatrists specialize in the feet, ankles and lower legs and can provide immediate medical attention and targeted treatment to help reduce recovery time.

Almost all competitive athletes heavily rely on their feet and lower legs to participate in their sport. This, in turn, makes them vulnerable to injuries affecting these parts of the body.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition characterized by pain that occurs on the bottom of your foot, particularly the heel. This pain is caused by the inflammation or irritation of a fibrous band of tissue called the plantar fascia. This ligament-like structure runs from your heel to the base of your toes. It helps support the arch of your foot and absorbs pressure when you walk, stand or exercise. It can become irritated or inflamed due to repetitive stress or overuse, especially when you do things such as wearing shoes that don’t provide enough support, walking or standing for long periods of time, exercising on hard surfaces and jumping. Seeking treatment from a podiatrist in Mooloolaba can provide targeted care for this condition

Symptoms can range from dull to sharp pain that is often worst with the first few steps after getting out of bed or after prolonged periods of standing. Other symptoms include pain that decreases with activity and increases at the end of a workout.

Achilles tendonitis

The achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to your heel bone. It is used when you walk, run and jump. Overuse or injury can cause pain in the tendon. It can also cause thickening (tendinopathy) of the tendon. This is harder to treat.

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The most common symptom is pain and stiffness in the back of your leg when you stand up or start walking. It gets worse when you exercise. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine your leg, heel and ankle. Your doctor may squeeze the calf muscle to see how well it works. They may also use an ultrasound machine to check the condition of your Achilles tendon.

If nonsurgical treatments don’t help, surgery may be an option. Your foot and ankle surgeon can recommend a procedure called gastrocnemius recession, which lengthens the calf muscle. This can decrease stress on the tendon.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are a common injury for athletes and non-athletes alike. They occur in people who make a sudden increase in the amount of exercise they perform, or the intensity of their activity. This increase may also include changing the frequency, distance, or type of activity, such as running longer distances or walking on hard surfaces instead of on softer ones. Certain medications or long-term illnesses that affect bone strength can cause a person to be more susceptible to this kind of injury.

A podiatrist Sunshine Coast will do a physical exam of the injured area and order X-rays. These X-rays will show whether the break in the bone is healing or not. If the X-rays are normal, the doctor may order an MRI to better visualize the stress injury and see any bone swelling. This is the most accurate way to diagnose a stress injury.

Overuse injuries

Many young athletes play sports that require a lot of practice and hard work. They often have to play through pain, which can lead to serious injury if it is not addressed early on. Overuse injuries occur when a muscle, joint or tendon is repeatedly stressed without proper rest or conditioning. Examples of overuse injuries include shoulder impingement; Achilles tendonitis; tennis elbow; and stress fractures.

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Muscles and tendons adapt to stress, but they need rest in between to repair and build strength. Injuries that happen when the body is not able to cope with repeated stress can be very serious, especially in children who have soft areas of bone (called growth plates) at the ends of their long bones. Little League shoulder and thrower’s elbow are overuse injuries that can affect children who pitch for hours each week without adequate training or rest.

Any time a minor ache or pain doesn’t go away, it is important to visit a sports medicine doctor. They can help determine if the injury is acute or chronic, and teach you how to prevent further problems.

Dislocations

A dislocation is a forced separation of two bones that come together to form a joint, such as the shoulder or elbow. These injuries are usually caused by a blow or fall that forces the bone out of its proper place. A dislocation can cause damage to ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Dislocations are most common in the shoulders, fingers and elbows but can occur in any joint.

Athletes who sustain a shoulder dislocation may choose to continue playing with the injury or undergo surgery. A study of high school and college athletes who experienced a shoulder dislocation during their competitive season found that first-time dislocators were more likely to believe that their shoulder would heal without surgery than recurrent dislocators. The authors suggest that further research is needed to determine how best to reduce shoulder dislocations in athletes. This includes developing interventions aimed at prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

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Muscle spasms

Muscle spasms, also called charley horses, are involuntary contractions that occur when a muscle doesn’t relax. They can affect any muscle under your voluntary control (skeletal muscles). Cramps can be painful and may feel like a tight, hard knot or a sudden twitch. The pain can be so intense that it limits the movement of your body.

Typically, they last for several minutes and go away on their own. It’s important to know what type of muscle spasm you have so that your doctor can diagnose the underlying issue and provide the correct treatment.

Spasms can be caused by many factors, including not exercising enough, poor posture or a lack of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and potassium. Some inherited diseases like multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury can also cause them. Muscle twitching is common in these conditions and can be felt all over the body, but it often happens in the face or legs first.