Anyone who plays sports knows the risk of injury, whether your Little Leaguer sprains an ankle, your teenager gets a stress fracture from playing soccer, or you play a fast game of 3-on-3 basketball on Saturday after sitting at your desk all week and end up with Achilles bursitis. As podiatrists we see a lot of sports injuries, and our goal is the same as yours: to help the injury to heal and get you back in the game as soon as it is safe.
Steps to Take When You Injure Your Feet and Ankles
How are sports injuries treated? The answers vary as widely as the ways you can hurt yourself, but the first step should always be to stop what you’re doing that causes pain. This is the “R” in RICE therapy—Rest. The other measures in this standard first aid treatment include Icing (applying ice for short periods several times a day), Compression (using an elastic bandage) and Elevation (raising your foot) to numb pain and keep swelling down.
The next step is to get a proper diagnosis. It doesn’t make sense to use treatment for sprain symptoms when what you really have is a broken bone. Our foot doctors have seen thousands of sports injuries, so we understand what can go wrong and how to identify it.
The final step is to follow the treatment regimen faithfully, including how long to stay off the foot. If you rush back to activity before your foot or ankle is fully recovered, the chance of injuring it again are higher, and repeat injuries can lead to chronic problems.
What If the Pain Doesn’t Go Away with RICE?
There are many conservative treatment modalities we can use to alleviate your pain and heal your injury. Here are just a few:
- Medication – We can prescribe oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, and on occasion may use injections to treat your symptoms.
- Massage – This can be especially helpful for injuries to muscles such as ankle sprains, strains, and “knotted” muscles (trigger points).
- Custom orthotics – Full length inserts or special devices worn in your shoes can help with conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, metatarsalgia (pain in the forefoot), neuromas (pinched nerves), turf toe (big toe sprain), and sesamoiditis (inflammation or damage to two small bones under the toe).
- Braces and casts – These are often used for bone injuries like fractures and dislocations, but immobilization may also help ligament and tendon damage heal more quickly.
- Wound treatment – We treat skin and nail injuries, too, such as draining blisters or pooled blood from black toenails, removing corns and calluses, cleaning and bandaging scrapes, stitching cuts, and alleviating pain with ingrown toenail
- Physical therapy – once tendons, bones or muscles have healed, you will need to recondition them so they can regain full strength and function. We will prescribe stretches and exercises to get you ready for your favorite activity again.
- Technology – If the conservative treatments we outlined above do not take care of your pain, a variety of advanced treatments are available to address pain and speed healing, including ultrasound, laser therapy, extracorporeal shockwave treatment (ESWT), platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatments, and more.
- Surgery – Most sports injuries heal just fine without it, but certain severe injuries (such as compound or open fractures, or tendon and ligament tears) may require surgical repair.
Sports Injury Specialists in Queens and Nassau County
From a simple blister to a complex bone break, our New York foot doctors can handle all your treatment need, as we are board-certified in surgery as well as medical treatment for foot and ankle issues. Call Aadvanced Foot Care Associates at one of our three offices—Rego Park (718) 896-4433, Plainview (516) 822-9595, Flushing (718) 969-2266—to set up your appointment, or contact us online to request one. We’ll work with you to get you back on your feet and back in action as soon as possible!