Staying active is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. However, virtually every sport comes with the risk of injury. That’s why our team of experts at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center makes injury education, prevention, and treatment a key part of our sports medicine services.
Here’s what you should know about the three most common types of sports injuries and how we treat them.
#1 Broken bones
Your bones are incredibly rigid, but unfortunately, they aren’t invincible. When the right amount of force is applied, your bone can easily break or crack.
All broken bones come with symptoms like pain, swelling, and limited mobility, but that’s where their similarities end. The following are a few different types of fractures:
- Stable fractures: The broken ends of the bone are barely out of place.
- Compound fracture: The broken end of the bone pierces through the skin.
- Transverse fracture: Your bone has a horizontal fracture line.
- Oblique fracture: Your bone has an angled fracture line.
- Comminuted fracture: Your bone has shattered into three or more pieces.
- Stress fracture: a small crack in your bone that stems from repeated stress
We make treatment recommendations based on what type of fracture you have. For mild breaks, you may only need to have your bones immobilized in a cast or brace. For more severe breaks, we typically recommend surgery to fully repair the fracture.
No athlete wants to be sidelined for any reason, but when you’ve broken a bone, you have no choice but to get treatment. Without it, you risk permanent bone deformity, nerve damage, muscle and ligament damage, and chronic pain and swelling.
#2 Damaged ligaments
Your ligaments are cords of tough, flexible fibrous tissue that support your joints and connect your bones to each other. Just like your bones, however, these strong cords can be brought down with one awkward movement. Among the most common ligament injuries are sprained ankles.
You know you’ve injured your ligament if you notice sudden and severe pain, a loud pop or snapping sound at the time of your injury, swelling, looseness of your joint, and an inability to bear weight or move your joint.
We treat mild ligament injuries conservatively with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), bracing, and over-the-counter pain medication. Many ligament injuries also benefit from physical therapy. More severe ligament injuries may need surgery.
#3 Muscle and tendon problems
Your muscles and tendons work together to help you run, jump, kick, and do just about any other movement required in your sport. Because they’re so heavily involved in every movement, it’s no wonder that your muscles and tendons are among the most susceptible to injury.
Injuries to your muscles and tendons can stem from overuse or from a sudden rupture. You’re most at risk if your muscles and tendons are tight or weak. The most common injuries we see are Achilles tendon injuries and plantar fasciitis.
Similar to ligament injuries, we usually address muscle and tendon problems with conservative, nonsurgical treatments and only recommend surgery in the most severe cases.
How to avoid injuries
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that you won’t ever find yourself sidelined by an injury. We can, however, help you take some strategic steps toward reducing your risk. Here are some simple things you can do to avoid injury:
- Take the time to warm up properly
- Prioritize rest in between activities
- Stay hydrated
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Always use the proper equipment
- Focus on proper technique
It’s also a good idea to see us for an evaluation to make sure your feet and ankles are game-ready before you lace up.
If you’d like more information, or if you suspect that you’ve injured yourself, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at any of our five conveniently located offices.