Sports are designed to push and challenge your body, which can lead to injury if you aren’t careful. This is especially true for your feet and ankles, which are your mainstays for most athletic endeavors. From running, jumping, pivoting, and stopping, these two areas are put through their paces, and sometimes the results can be sidelining. To keep you in the game, there are a few steps you can take to safeguard your feet and ankles.

At Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute, with Dr. David B. Glover at the helm, our goal is to keep our South Ogden, Utah, patients healthy and active, which is why we offer sports medicine services. An injury to your foot or ankle can not only take you out of the game, it can limit your everyday life in significant ways.

To help you avoid this disruption, here’s a look at the most common foot and ankle sports injuries and how to prevent them.

Sprained ankle

Far and away, the most common injury to your lower appendages is a sprained ankle. In fact, sprained ankles top the list of the most common sports injuries overall and a whopping 28,000 people sprain an ankle every day in the United States, both on and off the field.

There are varying degrees of sprained ankles — some are simple ligament strains that hobble you for a week or two while others are more complex and may require surgery.

If you’re involved in a sport where your ankles are working hard (think basketball, soccer, and any other sport that involves jumping and pivoting), you’d do well to wear shoes that provide adequate ankle support. As well, you should spend a little time off the field and in the gym, strengthening your ankles through balancing exercises.

Achilles tendonitis

Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, and it attaches your calf muscle to your heel. If you overuse or overstress this tendon, it can develop tiny little tears that lead to the pain and inflammation that are the hallmarks of Achilles tendonitis. This overuse injury is common among runners and can be avoided if you know the early signs.

To start, we recommend that anyone who engages in concussive sports like running consider using orthotics for extra support.  Even more important is recognizing when your Achilles tendon is stressed and giving it a good rest so that the tiny tears can heal. We can also recommend some good physical therapy exercises that will help strengthen your Achilles tendon and increase its flexibility.

Turf toe

This sports injury, which was named for football players who played on artificial turf, occurs when you hyperextend your big toe and sprain the main joint. If you engage in any sport that requires you to sprint or push off from your toes, you run the risk of turf toe.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent this acute injury, but the care you take afterward can make all the difference in your recovery. Through rest and expert oversight at our practice, we will ensure your toe heals properly and is strong enough to get you back out on the field.

Stress fractures

Rounding out our list of the most common sports injuries are stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in your bones that can develop over time. This type of injury is more common among athletes who run on hard surfaces or athletes who push themselves too hard and too fast.

To prevent stress fractures, we recommend that you outfit yourself with the right footwear for your sport, as well as the proper support. Here again, your best defense is listening to your body and dialing back at the first signs of trouble. If you’re experiencing unexplained pain in your feet, it’s a good idea to have us check it out because if you have small fractures, they can quickly get worse.

If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent sports injuries in your feet and ankles, please contact us at (801) 614-2996.