Last week we talked about soccer and football players suffering from ingrown toe nails and blood under their toe nails. This week we will look at two other common injuries associated with fall sports. As with all sports injuries, it is really important to pay attention to an injury as soon as it happens. By taking care of it immediately, you stand the chance of having it mend and not become a chronic or more severe problem.
Some injuries are caused when a player plants his or her foot on the ground and then the planted foot does not move as quickly as the player wants it to move.
One injury that happens that way is turf toe. Turf toe occurs more often in football but can also sideline soccer players.
It is particularly a problem on artificial turf. Turf toe happens when the player falls forward but his foot stays in place and the toe is bent beyond its normal range of motion. It can also happen when a player is running to catch a pass and the foot gets caught in either a seam of artificial turf or a divot in the grass. In both cases, the big toe is bent farther forward than it would normally move. When this happens, the sesamoid bones at the base of the big toe gets inflamed.
Pain in the joint of the big toe is the first indicator of the problem. The toe can be swollen also. Turf toe can start slowly if it is caused by repeated injuries or it can start suddenly if there is a direct injury to the toe.
The cure – as much as there is a cure, it is resting the foot. I know, no one likes that answer. In this case, it is important to follow that direction. This is an instance where going back on the field too fast will cause re-injury and will shorten the athlete’s playing time. The rest period should be two to three weeks for a minor injury and up to six weeks for a more serious injury. If the player doesn’t rest, he (or she) will not only be back on the sidelines soon but damage can be caused that will stay with the player for the rest of his or her life.
You know that I love telling you to go to your friendly podiatrist to be diagnosed but unless it is really painful or really swollen, just stay home and keep your foot up. It is rare (but not impossible) that rest is not the cure. In that case, a trip to the doctor is in order. Also it is time to employ my favorite acronym – RICE. I don’t know how you could forget it at this point but Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
How can you avoid turf toe? One way is to make sure that the shoes are a good fit and are the right shoes for the sport. You can also try to support your toe by taping it to the toe next to it. The toes then support each other.
The second injury seen on the fall sports fields is a sprained ankle. This is another “planting “injury. Often times an athlete will plant his foot and then it will not move in the way or direction that the athlete wants it to move. This can also be caused when there is a pile up of players and a player’s body gets turned while his foot cannot move.
There are several degrees of sprains. It was surprising to me to learn that you don’t necessarily have to have a swollen ankle to have a mild sprain. I thought that the swelling was a sign of the sprain. That is not necessarily the case though if it is severely swollen then that could be a sign of a severe sprain.
If you think that you have sprained your ankle, it is best to get to your local podiatrist to have it checked out. The doctor will look at the ankle and take an x-ray to better evaluate it. Depending upon the severity, you may need to have it wrapped and use crutches. While you are waiting to get to the doctor, don’t forget RICE (as mentioned above).
So, keep off the foot, put ice on your ankle for 20 minutes every hour, wrap it in an ace bandage, and raise it up so it is above your heart. (Lie down with your foot elevated on a pillow or two).
Enjoy those fall sports! And avoid injury!
The Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comment section below. I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
Trivia Question of the week – The game is known as soccer in what fraction of English speaking countries?
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If you live or work downtown Chicago and would like to see one of the friendly podiatrists there, don’t worry! You can head over to the office on the “Magnificent Mile” in Chicago. Stop in and say “Hello”. They would love to meet you. They are really that friendly!
Mag Mile Foot and Ankle Institute
333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1825
Chicago, IL 60601