What is Sports Medicine?
Podiatrists that specialize in sports medicine treat (and help prevent) injuries in athletes and dancers to get them back in game and help them achieve peak performance.
Both professional and amateur dancers and athletes rely on their feet and ankles. They put a great deal of stress and strain on muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and joints in the feet and ankles every time they train, compete, or perform. Repetitive motions, overtraining, improper form, or accidents can lead to a variety of injuries—both overuse and acute.
Overuse injuries are actually common for the athlete or dancer. These types of injuries develop gradually over time and may not be painful enough for the athlete or dancer to stop their activity. However, even the most mild overuse injury may persist and worsen over time, making it harder to treat.
Overuse injuries are commonly due to repetitive stress, improper training or recovery, inappropriate footwear, a previous injury, age and weight, as well as biomechanical issues. The most common overuse injuries among athletes and dancers include:
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
- Morton’s neuroma
- Ankle sprains
- Ankle impingement (common dance injury)
- Trigger toe (common dance injury)
An acute sports injury is one that occurs immediately by a specific traumatic event such as a collision, blow (or other form of impact), a fall, twist, or by changing direction suddenly.
These types of injuries typically result in pain that is immediate and severe and may be accompanied by swelling, redness, bruising, a physical deformity (as in a bone protrusion), and a reduced or complete lack of mobility.
The most common acute injuries among athletes and dancers include:
- Ankle sprains
- Ankle strains
- Achilles tendon ruptures
- Turf toe
- Bone dislocations
- Shin splints
- Crush injuries
The Importance of Prompt and Proper Treatment
It may be tempting for the athlete or dancer to ignore symptoms and try to “push through” an injury in order to continue training, competing, or performing. However, these symptoms are a warning sign and should be evaluated immediately by a podiatrist. Receiving prompt and proper treatment will prevent the injury from worsening or leading to further, possibly more serious, complications.
No matter what level athlete you are, do not ignore any pain, swelling, bruising, or limited mobility in your feet or ankles. Make an appointment to be evaluated by a podiatrist who can get to the root of your issue and fix it. They can also help you prevent future injuries and offer additional tips and techniques to keep you in top form.