Every season is football and basketball season IRL! Now, these pro sports look different than usual. VERY different. But at least we can watch NFL and NBA games on TV again. Hopefully, we'll soon be packing stadiums and arenas like the good old days. And maybe the Texans and Rockets will welcome every one of us back with open arms. (Even without James Harden, I can't wait to get back to the Toyota Center to see them in action.)
As a fan, I always look forward to watching my Texas teams play. (For those who know me well, you know I’m also a lifelong New York Jets fan). But, as a podiatrist, I tend to look at the injury reports. And foot and ankle injuries always populate the ranks of the injured player lists. Then, many my patient come in for the exact same injuries, after trying to channel their sports dreams through home play.
Here’s the thing…some of these injuries take the players out of the game for weeks, if not the season. Think about that. A football or basketball player getting paid millions of dollars has to sit out because of a foot injury. And it could be the same injury that my patients hope to recover from in a few short days or weeks. I think it’s a good perspective to have. And a good way to stay calm if a sports injury keeps you sidelined for a while.
Do any of these football injuries or basketball injuries ring a bell?
This is one of the most common foot injuries. It is an inflammation of a thick ligament that runs from your heel bone toward the toes. When it becomes inflamed, it causes pain on the bottom of the heel. It can also cause pain in the arch. Most feel the most pain with the first few steps in the morning, after which the pain eases. But it doesn’t always go away. You may feel the pain throughout the day.
This kind of heel and arch pain after playing basketball is also very common, especially if you're wearing the wrong shoes, training too long or hard, or if you have flat feet or high arches. And, this injury isn't unique to basketball players.
Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had plantar fasciitis. It kept him out of the game for half the season. And you can imagine the top notch treatment he received. If these symptoms sound familiar, don’t wait to come into the office.
Growing up I always found it odd that so many football players missed the entire season for a toe injury. It seemed excessive. Then it happened to me (not playing football) and I realized how serious and painful of an injury it is. Turf toe is a sprain of the great toe joint. It happens when the player is propelling forward and then is knocked back. This overextends the joint and causes the injury. The pain is severe and you can feel it with every step you take.
Green Bay Packers star wide receiver Davante Adams was out for six weeks of the 2019 season with turf toe. And who could forget how turf toe impacted Patrick Mahomes' recent performance in the big game? If left untreated, a bone spur can form on in the joint, which restricts the flexion of the great toe. And the pain gets worse. In cases like these, surgery is often needed to correct the injury.
A Jones fracture is a break in the base of the 5th metatarsal bone. It happens when you twist your ankle. The tendon that comes down the outside of the ankle and attaches right on the bone. The tendon pulls on the bone, causing it to break. The main problem with a Jones fracture is that the blood supply to that area of the bone is not great. This can impact healing. In the case of a displaced Jones fracture, it almost always needs surgery to fix it.
Last season, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel had surgery for a Jones fracture. Same goes for Seahawks rookie tight end Colby Parkinson. And over in the NBA, players like Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant came back from this injury. (More about KD and a different sports injury in just a minute.)
Think you’ve sprained your ankle, but you see a lot of bruising on your foot? Don’t wait, come see me right away! Hopefully with early treatment you can avoid surgery to repair this break.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
An inflamed Achilles tendon is a common injury that takes a lot of time to get over. As I write this blog, our buddy Kevin Durant is dealing with a sore Achilles tendon. But he's resting, so he can avoid a ruptured tendon.
Now, that's crucial. Because a rupture of the Achilles tendon is devastating. The Achilles tendon is the longest and strongest tendon in your body. It is responsible for every step you take. It allows you to run and jump. There is nothing that you do that doesn’t involve the Achilles tendon.
Last year, Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles tendon. He was out for the entire season. The only treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture is surgery. That is followed by immobilization, and then a lot of physical therapy. Many people describe an Achilles tendon rupture feeling like someone kicked you in the back of the leg. If you’ve felt that, don’t delay! Come in so I can check it out.
A Lisfranc injury is a disruption of the Lisfranc joint. It is actually a series of joints in the midfoot. It is injured when the foot is planted and then the player twists. It causes tears of the ligaments and dislocation of the joints. It is a serious and season-ending injury. This is an extremely painful injury that leads to swelling and bruising. You’d find it difficult to bear weight on that foot.
Former Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was out for a season with a Lisfranc injury. He needed surgery to fix the injury. Most players do. If you come in with severe pain in your midfoot, I’ll take an x-ray. With any suspicion of a Lisfranc dislocation, I’ll send you for an MRI. As always, the sooner you come in to get the injury checked, the better off you will be.
Hopefully you don’t have any of these common football injuries or basketball injuries. But if you do, contact my office or request an appointment through our website for an immediate appointment. They are all treatable, especially if you come in early.