Each year, the New Year’s resolution to shed those extra pounds spikes attendance at gyms, draws runners, walkers and bikers to the roads and trails and finds us cleaning the dust from our home workout equipment. “No pain, no gain” may be a motto for most workouts, but “too much, too soon” can lead to foot and ankle injuries that could sabotage your fitness goals.
One of the most common sports injuries is a sprained ankle. If you sprain your ankle, don’t play through the pain. Proper treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains are crucial to ensure adequate healing. If you avoid seeking treatment for the injury, not only can you cause further damage to the tendons in your ankle, which may take much longer to heal or possibly require surgery, but you may be overlooking a more serious injury—a stress fracture.
A stress fracture may feel like an ankle sprain at first, but you will notice some additional warning signs, such as swelling without bruising and pain even during normal activities or when touching the area. If you have any of these symptoms, have your foot and ankle evaluated as soon as possible.
If you finish your workout and experience any pain or swelling around your Achilles tendon, seek treatment right away. These could be indications of Achilles tendonitis. If left untreated, a stretched or strained Achilles tendon may worsen over time, leading to stiffness and fatigue in your injured leg. Worse yet, untreated Achilles tendonitis could result in a ruptured tendon, which would require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation of several months.
Another common overuse injury is heel pain. If you have heel pain that lasts for more than a day or two, or seems to worsen when you stand after sitting for an extended amount of time, you may have a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This common condition is a result of an inflammation of the tissue extending from your heel to your toes. If caught early enough, your foot and ankle surgeon can examine the condition and recommend some at-home conditioning. In late stages, the problem is much harder to treat and takes much longer for the pain to resolve.
Don’t Ignore the Pain!
If you’ve injured your foot or ankle during a workout, schedule an examination with a foot and ankle surgeon right away.