What are the most common foot and ankle injuries in fall sports, and how can they be prevented?
Dr. Edwards says, “ Most injuries during fall sports are over-use related. Shin splints, stress fractures and muscle strains can generally be prevented with a gradual increase in activity level and a structured exercise/training program. Before beginning a fall sport, contact an athletic trainer or exercise coach to determine an appropriate training regimen for your specific activity.
“Injuries to the foot and ankle are quite common in fall sports, since they require a lot of running and cutting activities. Ankle sprains are extremely common and range from a mild sprain, which will generally improve in one to two weeks with modified activity and/or immobilization and bracing, to severe sprains that do not respond to typical treatment regimens. If an ankle sprain does not improve within one to two weeks, a physician should be consulted to determine if there is an underlying cause of the continued pain and dysfunction.
“One medical condition that should not be overlooked in fall sports, especially early in the season during July and August, is heat illness. Proper hydration and a structured training program prior to the start of the season will help prevent this. Consult your athletic trainer or primary care physician to determine how to adequately hydrate.”
Christopher T. Edwards, M.D., is a fellowship-trained orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Tri Rivers who performs reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, including ankle replacement, and minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques for foot and ankle injuries, and treats degenerative foot and ankle conditions. He is a former collegiate athlete and was an assistant team physician for Knoch High School football and a team physician for Deer Lakes High School football.