Each year this resolution spikes attendance at gyms, draws runners, walkers, and bikers to the roads and trails and finds us cleaning the dust from our home workout equipment. “No pain, no gain” may be a motto for most workouts, but “too much too soon” can lead to unwanted pains, such as foot and ankle injuries, thus sabotaging your fitness goals.
One of the most common sports injuries is a sprained ankle. If you sprain your ankle, don’t “play through the pain.” Proper treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains is crucial toensure adequate healing. If you avoid seeking treatment for the injury, not only can you cause further damage to the tendons in your ankle, which may take much longer to heal or possibly require surgery, but you may be overlooking a more serious injury— a stress fracture.
A stress fracture may feel like an ankle sprain at first, but you may notice some additional warning signs, such as swelling without bruising and pain even during normal activities or when the area. If you have any of these symptoms, have your foot and ankle evaluated as soon as possible. Don’t walk it off! Improper treatment— or no treatment at all—may lead to improper healing, which could result in prolonged inactivity, no weight bearing on the foot, or possibly require surgery.
If you finish your workout and experience any pain or swelling around your Achilles tendon, seek treatment right away. These could be indications of Achilles tendonitis. If left untreated, a stretched or strained Achilles tendon may worsen over time, leading to stiffness and fatigue in your injured leg. Worse yet, untreated Achilles tendonitis could result in a ruptured tendon, which would require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation of several months!
Another common “overuse” injury is heel pain. If you have heel pain that lasts for more than a day or two, or seems to worsen when you stand after sitting for an extended amount of time, you may have a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This common condition is a result of an inflammation of the tissue extending from your heel to your toes. If caught early enough, our office can examine the condition and recommend some at-home conditioning. In late stages, the problem is much harder to treat and takes much longer for the pain to resolve. Fortunately, most patients with heel pain and plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated without surgery, although in persistent cases, surgery may be required for complete pain relief.
If you’ve injured your foot or ankle during a workout, don’t ignore the pain. Schedule an appointment with our office for an examination. Early treatment leads to a speedy recovery, avoids further damage or subsequent injuries, and enables you to get back on your feet to enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle.
This information was developed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons www.ACFAS.org