Playing sports is a great way to get and stay active at any age. Even though sports offer a host of benefits, physical activity comes with some risks, including the potential for injury.
Whether you're an athlete or you just enjoy working out, you probably know that foot injuries are common — and they can be debilitating. From plantar fasciitis to stress fractures, foot injuries compromise your mobility and overall performance.
The good news? Lisa Burson, DPM, Joe Aoun, DPM, and our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists offer comprehensive sports medicine care to help you heal and get back out there faster.
If you’ve suffered a sports injury that affects your feet, we start with a full exam to diagnose your condition. Then we develop a customized treatment plan that could include:
1. Rest and ice
Rest is a critical component of healing from any sports injury. It allows your body to recover and reduces the risk of further damage, so we generally prescribe a period of rest following foot and ankle injuries.
We may also recommend applying ice to your foot to help alleviate pain, swelling, and inflammation. Apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Always wrap the pack in a towel to protect your skin from direct contact with the ice.
2. Compression and elevation
Depending on the type of sports injury you suffered, compression and elevation can also support healing. We may recommend compression with an elastic bandage or compression sleeve to reduce swelling and give your foot and ankle extra support. If compression is right for you, we can show you how to wrap your foot properly to avoid restricting circulation.
Elevation is another way to help reduce painful swelling. When you’re resting, raise your injured foot above the level of your heart to fight swelling and improve blood flow.
Pain relievers can help manage discomfort and swelling after a sports injury. Our doctors may suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for mild-to-moderate injuries. For more severe injuries, prescription medication may be necessary.
Be sure to talk with your healthcare team before taking any medication, because we can provide guidance on dosage and any potential interactions with other medications you’re taking.
4. Physical therapy
After a period of rest, physical therapy is a safe way to reintroduce activity and build strength. Your physical therapist assesses your condition and develops a customized rehabilitation program to help you start moving safely.
You work on building strength, flexibility, and range of motion with specific stretches and exercises. Your therapy sessions can also include techniques related to your sport to aid in recovery and help prevent future injuries.
5. Orthotic shoe inserts
Depending on your injury, we may prescribe orthotic shoe inserts to support and stabilize your injured foot. Orthotics are custom medical devices that you wear inside your athletic shoes to help correct biomechanical issues, reduce stress on specific areas, and improve your overall foot function.
Most people find that a combination of rest and conservative treatments heal their foot injuries. But in some cases, conservative treatments may fail to provide relief.
Foot surgery may be necessary for sports injuries like fractures, ligament tears, and tendon ruptures. We only recommend surgery when other treatment options have been exhausted, and our goal is always to restore stability and normal foot function.
Sports injuries that affect your feet can be a setback, but with the right treatment approach, recovery is within reach. Get a prompt diagnosis and a customized treatment plan at The Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bay City, Caro, and Lapeer, Michigan. Call the office nearest you, or request your first appointment online today.