In the winter months, many of us move our exercise routine indoors. From running on the health club track, participating in court sports such as basketball or tennis, or skating on indoor ice rinks, indoor sports can cause many types of foot or ankle injuries. These may include:
- Stress Fractures.
- These tiny, hairline breaks can occur in the bones of the foot. They can be caused by overtraining or overuse, improper training habits or surfaces, improper shoes, flatfoot or other foot deformities, and even osteoporosis. Stress fractures in the bones of the feet can lead to a complete break if left untreated. Persistent pain in the foot is a warning sign that something is wrong.
- Heel pain.
- Pain may be due to plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes. However, pain in this area may be due to other conditions, including stress fractures, tendon problems or even irritation to heel spurs from snug-fitting shoes and skates.
- Ankle sprains.
- These can range from a basic ankle sprain to tendon injuries and talar dome injuries. Remember to lace up those skates to provide more support and stability to the ankle.
- Achilles tendon injuries.
- The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Feeling pain and tenderness in the back of your heel or foot may be Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This usually develops from a sudden increase of physical activity, such as playing sports only on the weekends. Forceful jumping or pivoting, or sudden accelerations of running, can overstretch the tendon and cause a tear.
- Traumatic fractures.
- Due to the speed one can reach ice skating, traumatic fractures can occur. For example, an ice hockey player sliding into the ice rink boards feet first may result in a calcaneal (heel bone) fracture.
Remember to always warm up before activity and stretch afterwards to help prevent an injury. Custom orthotic devices and proper arch support for shoes and skates can help protect your feet. Use the appropriate shoe for your sport and foot type. If you do experience pain, make an appointment with our office for an evaluation. Don’t let a foot or ankle injury keep you on the sidelines this winter!