When it comes to adult athletics, foot and ankle injuries are nothing out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a weekly game of basketball, a league tennis tournament, or training for a marathon, feet and ankles take a lot of abuse. It can be surprising when an injury stops you short, making you remember you’re not as young as you used to be. Make sure you review this list of foot and ankle injuries that adult athletes need to be extra careful to prevent.
You’ve seen it dozens of times: A tennis player rolling an ankle when going after a tough shot, a basketball player landing wrongly after going in for a layup, or a runner spraining their ankle when traversing across uneven terrain. Practically any sport where quick directional changes are the norm can be a breeding ground for ankle sprains. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid all scenarios in which a sprain might occur, you can take some preventative measures by wrapping your ankles beforehand for additional support.
Achilles Tendon Injury or Tendonitis
When the Achilles tendon gets injured, it will pretty much bring all activity to a screeching halt. This long tendon runs down the back of the leg, and is used to help the foot flex up and down for activities such as climbing, running, jumping, etc. An inflamed Achilles tendon can produce a nagging pain in the lower calf and heel area. If the tendon continues to weaken, it can rupture, which will basically put you in a world of hurt. One important preventative measure you can take is to make sure that you keep this vital tendon flexible by proper stretching and warm-ups.
Stress fractures are extremely tiny cracks in your foot or ankle bones due to repeated impact and stress over time. The pain typically feels like a deep, dull ache, but it can be sharp or intense in some cases. Athletes in sports that involve lots of running or jumping often sustain stress fractures in their foot or lower leg.
An athlete who experiences pain or swelling on the front of their lower leg (i.e., the shin) may have a shin splint, which is a common overuse injury. This condition normally heals naturally over time, but if the pain becomes chronic, you may be dealing with a stress fracture instead.
No matter what type of foot or ankle injury you experience, it’s always a good idea to get it examined by a podiatrist. They can pinpoint the exact condition you’re dealing with and then recommend appropriate treatment options. Whatever you do, don’t let the injury go neglected; by visiting a podiatrist, you could save yourself a lot of pain later down the road.