Sports Injuries: The overused, the overworked and the fractured

Our feet are the first thing to hit the ground during our mornings, and the foundation on which we literally stand. Made up of twenty-six bones and numerous muscle and ligaments, the foot is a natural shock absorber cushioning our bodyweight and decreasing wear and tear at our knees and hips. When standing our feet support just our bodyweight, however, when we run the foot absorbs up to four times our body’s weight (If you weigh 200 lbs this amounts to 800 lbs of weight absorbed with each footfall). Given the mathematics it is surprising we are not all footsore. When we lace up our sneakers, we seldom dwell on the possibility of an injury, and how damaging such an occurrence can be to both our fitness routine and to our daily life. Sometimes an accident just happens but what are the injuries we can help to prevent?  The most important element in preventing a foot related injury is to invest in a good pair of shoes, the doctors at AFFC can recommend several sneakers to fit both your foot type and your budget. Stretching and proper conditioning are also important factors in deterring an injury. 

Our skin and nails are usually the first things affected by too much activity. Trauma to the skin associated with athletics can manifest as blisters and black nails.

Blisters are the result of shearing forces and friction (High school physics never goes away does it). The body uses fluid as a cushion to protect the area from rub and pressure. Slowly breaking in shoes and wearing athletic socks are two ways to prevent blisters.

Runner’s Nails (Subungual Hematomas) are black nails (usually occurring on the longest toes) caused by bleeding under the nail. Bleeding occurs because of reoccurring trauma of the nail hitting the edge of the shoe. Occasionally bleeding under the nail is suggestive of a fracture and requires medical attention. Rarely a black streak on the toenail without explanation (no evident trauma or a sudden appearance) can indicate a malignancy and should be evaluated by a podiatrist. Wearing shoes of appropriate length (one thumb’s length from your big toe to edge of your shoe) is one way to deter runner’s nails. Keeping the nails at an appropriate length and the use of cushioning socks also can be helpful.

We have heard of “Blackberry thumb” and “Carpel tunnel” – diseases that fall into what medical professionals call the  “overuse category”.  Simply, that painful twinge is our body’s way of telling us to “stop texting” and give our phone the night off.  Like our hands our feet can be susceptible to the abuse of overuse. When you get sore feet give the “dogs” the night off!  Both the bones and tendons of the foot can be affected by too much use. 

Stress Fractures are a small crack in the bone. Wearing improper shoes with lack of cushioning or simple overuse can stress the bone. Untreated stress fractures can become actual breaks in the bone. It is important to wear supportive, well-cushioned shoes and to condition appropriately.

Ankle Sprain:  Weak ankles or turned ankles can strain the tissue attaching bone to bone. This can lead to painful swelling and loose joints. If you have weak ankles using an ankle supportive device such as high-topped sneakers or a brace can help decrease your incidence of a sprain. If you sprained your ankle or have experienced recurrent sprains please see a doctor at AFFC, as appropriate treatment can prevent pain.  

Tendonitis: Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscle to bone and provide the motion to our locomotion. Although strong, tendons can become fatigued with greatly repetitive action and lack of conditioning. This condition manifests as pain and inability to do certain motion. The doctors at AFFC can diagnose and treat conditions effecting your tendons.

We are told to hit the gym in our constant battle against the bulge and to help boost our overall health. There is no denying the importance of exercise to improve both mental and physical wellness. The doctors at Allentown Family Foot Care specialize in treating overuse injuries of the foot and ankle, and can help you in meeting your fitness goals. Not only are the doctors at AFFC foot care specialists but they are also athletes.