Condition #10 and #11: Foot & Ankle Sprains and Strains
Sprains are an injury to a ligament; the tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bone. Ligament injuries involve a stretching or tearing of this tissue. Sprains typically occur when people fall and land on an outstretched arm, slide into base, land on the side of their foot, or twist a knee with the foot planted firmly on the ground. This results in an overstretch or tear of the ligament(s) supporting that joint.
Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries in professional and recreational sports and activities. Most ankle sprains happen when the foot abruptly turns inward (inversion) or outward (eversion) as an athlete runs, turns, falls, or lands after a jump.
Signs and Symptoms of Sprains
Typical signs and symptoms of a muscle sprain include pain, swelling, bruising, and the loss of functional ability (the ability to move and use the joint). Sometimes people feel a pop or tear when the injury happens. However, these signs and symptoms can vary in intensity, depending on the severity of the sprain.
A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, the tissue that connects muscles to bones. Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result in a partial or complete tear. A strain is caused by twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon. Strains can be acute or chronic. An acute strain is caused by trauma or an injury such as a blow to the body; it can also be caused by improperly lifting heavy objects or overstressing the muscles. Chronic strains are usually the result of overuse – prolonged, repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons. Common types of lower leg strains are hamstring strains and tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon). Contact sports such as soccer, football, hockey, boxing, and wrestling put people at risk for strains.
Treatment & Prevention
You can help minimize your risk of sprains and strains through regular stretching and strengthening exercises for your sport or activity. Footwear that offers both support and protection is always a good choice.
Ask your Chiropodist about stretching and strengthening exercises and the right type of footwear you need for your sport – so you can always put your best foot forward!