Introduction To Lower Leg and Foot Injuries
The most common injuries suffered by athletes are muscle strains, ligament sprains, and bruises of the ankle, knee and lower leg1.
Regardless of whether the injuries are sports-related or are a result everyday activities, the consequences of lower leg and foot injuries can be serious, ranging from physical impairment and days away from work to significant medical costs.
Stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Symptoms include swelling, bruising or redness, pain while resting, inability to use the muscle at all.
Stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments connect two bones together in the joints. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, limited ability to move the joint, there may have been a “pop” heard or felt at the time of injury.
Breaking of small veins and blood vessels into the surrounding tissue, with the blood trapped under the skin’s surface. Symptoms include discolouration of the skin (yellow, blue or dark purple marks) and tenderness.*
*Other symptoms such as swelling and severe pain, or frequent bruising for no apparent reason, or the location of the injury, may require further investigation or specialist treatment and should be attended to by a doctor.
Injury Prevention and Intervention
At The Foot Practice, we focus on injury prevention and intervention. We assess all aspects of your health, and take all injury risk factors into account when developing a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. The Foot Practice breaks the injury risk factors of lower leg and foot injuries into two categories:
- Extrinsic Risk Factors. These are risks outside the body, including level of competition, skill level, shoe type, use of ankle tape, brace or orthotics, and playing surface; and,
- Intrinsic Risk Factors. These are risks within the body, including age, sex, previous injury and inadequate rehabilitation, aerobic fitness, body size, limb dominance, flexibility, limb girth, muscle strength, imbalance and reaction time, postural stability, anatomical alignment, and foot shape and structure.
Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation
We also provide injury treatment and rehabilitation services to those who have suffered lower leg and foot injuries, including a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs, with the goals of returning your functionality and limiting reinjury of the area.
Improper Treatment Risks Reinjury
Failure to properly rehabilitate injuries can extend well beyond on-going minor discomfort. Previous injury in conjunction with inadequate rehabilitation is a risk factor for reinjury of the same type and location, or other injuries in the same or other leg.
For example, a poorly-rehabilitated injury may contribute to muscular weakness and imbalance or impairment of ligaments. Both of these issues affect the strength of your body and its range of motion.
Further, your body may adapt its movement to accommodate the injury, and without proper rehabilitation, you risk injury of other area of your body by continuing to use it in a way not intended for its normal function, causing strain and over-use.