Track and Field Injuries in Feet and Ankles

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

AthleteThere’s something so hopeful about that crack of the starting pistol at a track meet. Our Houston area athletes hope to compete well and win their events, but they also hope to avoid a track and field sports injury that might keep them out of their event—be it hurdles, distance runs, sprints, high jump, or shot put.

We find that many injuries are due to inadequate training or conditioning, so we can’t overemphasize the importance of building up your muscles, tendons, and ligaments by eating well and getting enough rest. Also be sure to warm up, cool down and stretch at your practices and meets.

Want to know the most common lower leg injuries you may be risking? Here’s a partial list:

  • Shin splints – pain at the front of the shin that gets worse during activity. Landing jumps and pounding the track can damage the tissues around the shin bone and cause pain.
  • Achilles tendon problems – a tight tendon and calf muscles can lead to inflammation (tendinitis) or a tear (rupture) in the tendon when you suddenly increase length or intensity of workouts.
  • Sprains – landing crooked from a jump or tripping on the track can overextend the joint and strain or tear ligaments in your ankle or foot.
  • Metatarsalgia – pain in the forefoot caused by tendon and muscle damage or pinched nerves. Common in runners and those who land on the ball of the foot during events.
  • Plantar fasciitis – pain under the front of your heel bone and arch from damage to the ligament under your foot. It is classified as an overuse injury.
  • Stress fracture – these small cracks in the surface of foot or ankle bones are caused by overuse, repeated trauma, and weak muscles.
  • Sever’s disease – heel pain in young players (tweens and teens) resulting from tight tendons pulling on the growth plate in the heel bone.

These are a few of the most common issues track and field athletes can encounter. Some are minor injuries and can be treated with home care remedies like rest, icing, compression and elevating the foot (RICE therapy). Others may require a visit to our office for evaluation and medical treatment.

We have helped local athletes and others find answers for their sports injuries for over 40 years and have a wide array of treatment options—from custom orthotics to laser therapy. Call Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX at (281) 497-2850 and let us take care of yours.
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