Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them with Tyler Mulkey, DPM

From weekend warriors to school, athletes’ foot and ankle injuries are common. Most can be treated conservatively but some may need surgical intervention. Watch and listen to Tyler Mulkey, a podiatrist practicing in the Orthopedics department about the options for patients.

Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and 100s of ligaments, muscles and tendons that are all under frequent pressure from daily activities. This puts the foot at high risk for injury and other damage.

There are many things you can do to help prevent foot and ankle injuries. Proper nutrition can help prevent deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin D, which may make bones more prone to stress fractures. Stretching can help prevent foot and ankle injury. Make sure your warmup regimen includes stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion. Never stretch in a way that causes ankle pain, foot pain or other kinds of discomfort. Cross-training can also prevent injury caused by overuse and repetition, mixing up your normal routine with other activities can prevent problems associated with overtraining.

Here Are Some More Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

*  Warm Up Prior To Any Sports Activity
*  Condition Your Muscles For The Sport
*  Strengthen Your Leg, Foot, Hip And Core Muscles
*  Choose Your Footwear Based On Activity And Foot Type
*  Replace Athletic Shoes When The Tread Wears Out Or The Heels Wear Down
*  Improve Your Balance
*  Avoid Running Or Stepping On Uneven Surfaces

Seventy-five percent of Americans will experience foot problems at some point in their lives. Because the foot is such an important part of our daily lives, it often requires specialized care from a podiatrist. Foot problems can affect the bones, joints, muscles or skin of the area, all of which are highly susceptible to damage.

Even if you work out regularly, most people do not include the foot and ankle in their workout routines, favoring only the major muscle groups of the upper lower extremities. Weakness of the muscles that power the foot and ankle may place the muscle at risk for an overuse injury from exercise, yard work or a long hike. Ankle muscle weakness may place you at a higher risk for a sprain or strain. Make sure to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any pain.





Tyler Mulkey, DPM:

Most overuse injuries and sports-related injuries are readily treated with conservative treatment. Protection, rest, ice, compression, anti-inflammatories will help with these issues. If it’s a sprain or a tendonitis, to immobilize that tendon for a period of time, allow it to recover, together with some anti-inflammatories and ice. Ultimately, doing some sort of physical therapy or something to retrain your ankle or retrain your foot to better accommodate distresses.

Most of the time, I will tell people that it’s not necessarily that you have to stop your activity, but it’s an activity modification. Focusing on upper body things, running, working on a stationary bike or something like that can allow you to recover and do something different.

For sports injuries, one of the most common surgeries would be an ankle arthroscopy. An ankle arthroscopy is when you use a camera and various tools to treat the pathology. Most of the time, there is some sort of inflammation or synovitis within the joint that causes some deal of pain. There are a varying degree of pathologies that you can treat arthroscopically, like an osteochondral lesion, basically a bone bruise to your talus, the bone in your ankle, if you have a piece of cartilage or a loose body, those kinds of things. They allow good visualization of the joint, good correction of the pathology without a large incision.

Other procedures are a lateral ankle stabilization. Most people in their life have rolled their ankle. Sometimes when that heals, it heals loose and it’s necessary to go and basically tighten those ligaments back up, so you’re not constantly rolling your ankle. Tendon repairs, tendons on the outside, your Achilles tendon, different procedures like that.

Those are common sports-related injuries that I treat. I love working with patients. I think probably the biggest thing that I enjoy about my job is seeing patients recover.

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