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Running & Sports Injuries

Biomechanical podiatry in general terms involves the diagnosis and treatment of all lower limb and foot injuries, regardless of age, gender or activity.

Sports Podiatry however focuses on:

  • The treatment of foot and lower limb overuse injuries
  • Improving mechanical performance to minimise injury
  • Improving mechanical performance to maximise efficiency

Most people have no idea whether or not they are running or functioning correctly, however when an injury occurs they know they must do something about it. At Foundation Podiatry Townsville, with the use of a computerised posture, balance and gait assessment we can quickly determine whether your foot and leg alignment and stability is sufficient for performing your particular activity. If running is your focus, you may benefit from a running gait assessment.

Most sportspeople only seek treatment once an injury occurs. However points 2 & 3 above are equally important:

  • Improve mechanical performance to minimise the risk of injury – for example improve your running style, strength, co-ordination and proprioception to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Improve mechanical performance to maximise efficiency – for example a mechanically correct soccer player will be more efficient and use less unnecessary muscle activity then a mechanically incorrect player, so will therefore have greater speed, endurance and agility and have less fatigue during a game.

Acute vs Overuse Injuries

A sports injury may be categorised as an acute injury or an overuse injury, depending on the cause of injury and the onset of symptoms.

Acute Injury may be due to extrinsic causes, such as a direct blow from a player or equipment, or intrinsic causes such as a ligament sprain or muscle tear. Therefore acute injuries occur suddenly, the pain (or symptoms) start instantly, and in a lot of cases these injuries are out of the players control or ‘freaky’ injuries.

Examples of Acute injuries include:

  • Bone fracture (especially the tibia or fibula of the lower leg) or bone bruising
  • Ligament (sprain, tear or rupture) – commonly ankle or ACL of knee
  • Muscle (strain or tear) – commonly calf or hamstring
  • Tendon (partial or complete tear) – commonly hamstring or achilles tendon

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries do not occur from an acute injury (such as an ankle sprain or a blow from a ball), but instead have a slow onset of pain. To treat an overuse injury properly, the underlying cause needs to be determined. The cause can usually be divided into extrinsic factors such as increasing training load, training surfaces, poor footwear, equipment and environmental conditions; or intrinsic factors such as muscle imbalance, lack of flexibility, structural mal-alignment such as knock knees or collapsed feet.

Common overuse injuries include:

Treatment of overuse injuries may include rest from aggravating activity and physical therapy (heat, massage, stretching, strengthening). However with overuse injuries you need to ask yourself the following question: why did this pain occur without an initial injury and why has it not gone away after some time? This means there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed so the problem resolves completely and does not re-occur.

Don’t let those niggly injuries stop you from reaching your fitness goals, give Foundation Podiatry Townsville a call today!

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