The biggest challenge of sports medicine is getting people better as quickly as possible so they can resume the sport or activity that they enjoy. There is little tolerance for rest in athletes.
Some people have high pain thresholds and believe the old adage, “no pain, no gain”. Unfortunately, this is often a recipe for disaster in the form of torn ligaments and stress fractures.
In sports medicine, there are several types of injuries, either an acute tear or fracture, or an overuse syndrome from mechanical weakness of feet or other body structures and poor training techniques. Pain can be sharp or dull, acute or chronic, with or without swelling.
At your podiatric exam, an accurate clinical history will go a long ways in determining just what happened and how it can be best treated.
Next, tests such as X-rays and an examination of the injured area will be performed. CT scans or MRI’s may be ordered when needed. Whenever possible, a podiatric exam of your walking and standing positions will be performed. There are common reasons for mechanically caused injuries and pain, including:
- Excessive pronation
- Excessive supination
- Short- leg syndrome
- Poor shock absorption in feet
- Tight and weak musculature
- Miscellaneous (fat pad atrophy, arthritic degeneration, hammertoes, bunions)
Treatment strategies can include:
- With acute injuries there are usually 5 principles of treatment which form a clever pneumonic: RICEN. It stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Non steroidal Anti-inflammatories
- Taping, padding or casting the injured part
- OTC arch supports or custom prescription orthotics
- Physical Therapy
- Re-training techniques to avoid re-injury