Playing to Win over Sports Injuries
Sports enthusiasm is present year-round in New Jersey, from football games in the crisp fall air and the squeak of sneakers on the basketball court in winter, to the crack of the bat at spring baseball and sizzling beach volleyball along the shore in the summer. Whatever games people play, there is always a risk of sports injuries — yes, even with a rather sedate round of golf. We want you to know what can happen when you are active.
Common Injuries in Sports
You can hurt many parts of your body during activity, but as Dr. Jyotsna Thapar specializes in treating foot and ankle problems, we’ll focus on those. What follows is not an exhaustive list (it would run pages long!) but highlights the most common ones:
- Sprains and strains happen when forces cause a joint to twist, roll, or turn beyond its normal range. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold it together or the tendons and muscles that help it move. In the lower leg it most often affects the big toe (turf toe) or the ankle. The severity of the sprain is graded (1=mild, 2=moderate, 3=severe) with treatment varying from simple RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) at home to possible surgery to repair a torn ligament.
- Tendon injuries commonly occur in your Achilles at the back of your ankle. This major tendon connects your calf muscles and heel bone and is under a lot of stress when playing sports. It too can stretch or rupture, causing pain, swelling, and instability. Sometimes a torn tendon needs surgical repair, but all tendon issues will require time off from sports and limited or no weight-bearing so the tissue can fully heal.
- Fractures refer to cracks on the surface or complete breaks in one or more of your bones. You can break toe bones, metatarsals (see Lisfranc injuries), or one of the cluster of larger bones at the rear of your foot and ankle area. Another common problem for athletes (especially runners) is stress fractures of the shin bones. Fracture symptoms can resemble those of sprains, so an X-ray and expert diagnosis is key to getting the correct treatment.
- Shin splints are also common to runners and other athletes. This overuse injury involves damage to the bone and soft tissues along the tibia, resulting in pain and mild swelling. Resign yourself to a time of rest and activity limitation, because it is the only way these tissues will fully heal. Getting back into action too soon will compromise the process and could lead to chronic issues.
- Dislocations happen when the bones of a joint are forced out of position and stay that way, deforming the joint and causing swelling, pain, bruising, and possible blood vessel and nerve damage. You need professional help to realign the joint, and it may always be susceptible to re-injury because the ligaments are stretched and weakened. We may prescribe physical therapy to help you recover more of your strength and function.
Sports Injury Treatment from the Pro
Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey is conveniently located on the border between South Plainfield and Edison, NJ—ready to help patients from the surrounding communities (like Metuchen, Middlesex, New Brunswick, and Piscataway Township) with any foot care need.
Whether you hurt yourself playing sports, on the job, or at home, Dr. Jyotsna Thapar would be honored to care for your feet and ankles and help you heal well and return to your normal life. Give our offices in South Plainfield or Warren a call at (908) 222-8980 or schedule your appointment online. You can also check out our practice and find more foot care information on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.