Foot injuries among athletes are common, but sometimes the consequences can be devastating.
One of the most common foot problems, plantar fasciitis, accounts for up to 15% of professional foot care interventions. Caused by excessive stretching and inflammation of the tendons along the bottom of the foot, symptoms include sometimes debilitating heel pain.
Albert Pujols, first baseman for the California Angels, lives with recurring plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Treatments include anti-inflammatories, stretching, and surgery. Pujols relies on yet another effective treatment, the use of orthotics, a specially designed shoe insert that reduces the risk of excessive stretching.
In 2013, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant suffered a serious injury to his Achilles tendon. Connecting the calf muscles to the heel, the tendon’s function is vital to everything a basketball player needs to do.
After surgery and eight months of rehabilitation, Kobe returned only to suffer a knee injury to the same leg. According to his doctor, atrophied muscles from the tendon injury may have contributed. Kobe ultimately ended his career in 2015.
Another sports great, Shaquille O’Neal, developed a deformity of the big toe called hallux limitus. This develops after arthritic changes to the joint cause stiffening and severe restriction in range of motion.
The problem began during the 2001-2002 season and got so bad he had surgery to correct the problem. His foot has never been the same, however. While he benefits from acupuncture, anti-inflammatories, and massage, he admits his pre-injury performance remains unmatched.
The microscopic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, better known as MRSA, ended the career of NFL tight end, Daniel Fells. The germ thrives in locker rooms, and Fells likely contracted the disease in this way.
Fells’ problems began in October 2015 after a foot injury. After a week of treatment, he presented to the emergency room with a 104o fever. Doctors diagnosed MRSA and began intensive efforts to save his foot that included surgeries and powerful antibiotics. The destruction to Fells’ foot became severe enough to force his retirement in 2016.
A condition called Lisfranc injury forced Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker into retirement in 2015. First coined by a Napoleonic surgeon who diagnosed the condition among dismounting cavalry soldiers, Lisfranc injury results from a strain to the midfoot ligament. Prone to a host of other injuries, Locker only made 30 NFL career appearances.
The stresses on feet and the dangers it poses to careers forces athletes to take special precautions. Nevertheless, crippling injuries happen nearly every day.
If foot or ankle pain is putting an end to your game, contact us today.