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While baseball is usually thought of as a non-contact sport, the risk of collision is certainly not absent. Some of the most serious baseball injuries are due to contact with a bat, ball, another player, or a base. Yes, it’s true–even the seemingly harmless base made of hard rubber can cause serious injuries that might require months of treatment and rehabilitation. While not common, it is not unusual for a player to get a foot or ankle injury while sliding into a base. According to statistics, sliding into a base causes more than 70 percent of recreational softball injuries and about one third of baseball injuries.

When does sliding cause foot or ankle injuries?

Most base-sliding accidents happen due to judgment errors by the runner, bad sliding technique, or insufficient physical conditioning. Lack of proper training and coaching increases the risk for this type of injury.

Can baseball foot or ankle injuries be prevented?

There are several ways to reduce the overall risk of injury in baseball and softball:

  • Proper warm-up and stretching will help reduce the likelihood of ligament injuries to the body. Stretching and warming up also enable the player to maintain flexibility, coordination, and strength.
  • Learning how to slide into a base properly is key. Get good training and hold off on practicing with real bases until after the proper technique is learned.
  • Wear proper footwear. Cleats need to have enough traction to avoid slippage, but not so much that they can get caught in the turf or injure another player.
  • Avoid physical contact with other players since it can cause serious injury to both the runner and the baseman.

How are foot and ankle injuries treated?

These types of injuries may be acute (sudden) and perhaps quite painful, but are often chronic. Chronic injuries develop over time and begin with mild symptoms, often with relatively little pain. This causes patients to ignore the injury and carry on with their activities, potentially causing further damage.

Foot and ankle injuries usually require immediate care such as X-rays to understand the extent of the injury. Additional diagnostic testing such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scanning may be helpful if the diagnosis is still in question.

Once the nature of the injury is determined, the doctor will recommend a course of action. Splinting, immobilization, closed reduction (treating a fracture without surgery), or open reduction with internal fixation (surgical treatment of the bone) may be recommended.  As well as bracing, physical therapy and for faster return to sport activity MLS LASER treatment.

Can play resume while it heals?

An injured player’s symptoms must disappear completely before returning to play. For instance, if the injury involves a joint, the player must have full range of motion, no pain, and no swelling, as well as the ability to perform free movements.

If your feet or ankle bothers you for more than a few days, consult your podiatrist, Dr. Kris Titko, by calling (513) 273-5119.