Sports Injuries

Common Sports Injuries with the Foot and Ankle

Sports Injury ankle sprain compression wrapping

Sports injuries often happen during sports or exercising. Some sports injuries occur accidentally, while others injuries result from inadequate training, poor conditioning or improper gear (e.g. shoes). A sudden increase in daily activity after an extended period of inactivity is a perfect storm for sports injuries, more so as we get older. Failure to warm-up or stretching before exercise can predispose you to injury. The most common sports injuries in the foot and ankle are listed below.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are the most common sports injury. When you twist your ankle, and it starts to swell, it is hard to put your weight down or even to bruise; you're the proud owner of an ankle sprain. Most ankle sprains occur with sports that involve jumping and quick side-to-side movements like basketball, volleyball, badminton, tennis and soccer. Ankle sprains result in damage to ligaments ranging from a mild stretch to a complete tear. The ligaments on the outside of your ankles are weaker and more prone to tearing. You should consider that in some more severe injuries, a fracture of the tibia, fibula or talus bones may be causing your pain. An x-ray in severe injuries will be helpful to determine if a fracture exists. An

Achilles tendinopathy

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. The Achilles tendon is found at the back of your lower leg and connects your calf muscles to the backside of your heel bone. Achilles tendinopathy represents an acute or chronic injury of the Achilles tendon. It can significantly alter the tendon's strength and structure, putting it at risk for further injury or even a complete tear. Circulation to the Achilles tendon is not great, making a recovery from injury more complicated and more important to seek treatment. Severe injuries to the Achilles, such as tears, may require surgical repair followed by extensive rehabilitation. 

Shin Splints

Shin splints represent a pain sometimes swelling in the front of the lower leg. Repetitive running or walking for extended periods can result in shin splints. Predisposing factors for shin pain include flat feet, tight calves, poor conditioning, worn down or unsupportive shoes and uneven surfaces. Repeated pulling of a muscle (tibialis anterior) from the shin bone (tibia) results in inflammation. Treatment for shin splints includes rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, compression socks, stretching exercises, orthotics, and well-fitting supportive shoes. 

Plantar fasciopathy

Plantar fasciopathy (aka plantar fasciitis) is an inflammation of the plantar fascia from excessive stress and force applied at the attachment site the heel bone. The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of your foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the ball of your feet. Poor biomechanics and an abnormal walking pattern can predispose your feet to develop plantar fasciitis.


Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa (small fluid-filled sac). We have naturally occurring bursa near joint, bone or tendons. Bursa's get inflamed from repetitive movement and friction inside shoes. Symptoms of bursitis include redness, swelling and pain in a localized area. Retrocalcaneal bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa between the Achilles tendon and back of the heel bone (calcaneus). Retrocalcaneal bursitis can often get misdiagnosed as Achilles tendonitis. Treatment for bursitis includes ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, padding, heel lifts and or steroid injections.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease (children)

Osgood-Schlatter is soreness and swelling below the knee cap (patella) towards the front of the shin bone (tibia). It starts in children between 10 and 14 years of age that are active and are growing quickly. Symptoms include pain, swelling at the bony part of the shin bone, under the knee, a bony bump that is sore to touch or kneeling on and or pain with sports at the front of the knee. Treatment includes icing, anti-inflammatory medication (oral or topical), reduced activity and stretching (when the pain subsides).

Sever's disease (children)

Sever's disease is a painful inflammation of the growth plate on the back of the heel. Children between 8 to 14 years of age are most often affected. Calcaneal apophysitis is the most common cause of heel pain in children. Overuse and stress from participating in sports (soccer, basketball, track and field) occurs from repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces. Poor biomechanics (flat feet, high arches), obesity and a tight Achilles tendon are potential causes of this disorder. 

Turf toe

Turf toe is the sprain of the big toe joint and begins with a forceful hyperextension of the big toe (e.g. pushing off to sprint). These injuries occur most often in football players but can happen in any sport that requires a lot of flexion from the big toe. Treatment for turf toe includes rest, icing, elevation, anti-inflammatory medication, kinesiology taping or sports taping. In more severe cases, a walking boot followed by physical therapy will be necessary.

Our chiropodist can start by taking a full medical and podiatric history, conduct a foot exam and gait analysis. Recommendations for footwear, custom orthotics, bracing, compression stockings, rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy treatments (MedX light therapy, Kinesiology taping and Shockwave therapy). If you need help getting back to the activities you love, book an appointment today. We look forward to helping you.

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