You should never run through any injury other than stitch. However many players will soldier on hoping things will get better by themselves. While in Gaelic, soccer, rugby and running, injuries to the foot and ankle are the most common of all, many are due to basic training or footwear issues.
Early diagnosis and treatment will allow more rapid return to full fitness levels. We will examine your foot and ankle problem and then judiciously order xrays, ultrasound or MRI to confirm diagnosis while commencing treatment which allows you to continue some level of exercise but always with the intent to return you to full participation as quickly as possible.
COMMON SPORTS FOOT AND ANKLE INJURIES AND THEIR TREATMENT:
Pain on the undersurface of the heel. (Plantar Fasciitis)
This is often due to over-strengthening of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon and is due to pulling of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia ligament on the sole of the foot and heel. This condition does well with stretching exercises, orthotic insoles and cortisone injections.
Pain in the big toe joint
This can be due to bunion deformity but in athletes is more commonly due to damage to the joint cartilage. A combination of orthotic insoles and injection treatment can resolve this problem and allow return to full participation.
Should these measures fail to relieve the problem, there are surgical options available which do not mean the end of your sporting career.
Pain on the ball of the foot
Bruising of the knuckle joints on the ball of the foot can make you feel like you are running on marbles.
Special deflective padding will often cure this but sometimes cortisone injections can provide a very quick fix indeed. Occasionally surgery is necessary if there is a tear of the plantar plate on the undersurface of the knuckle bone.
This will cause intense pain on the ball of the foot and in the toes and is due to irritation of the nerve which supplies sensation to the toes. The nerve swells in size and that causes it to be crushed by the bones either side of it.
Cortisone injections will often shrink the nerve to normal size but sometimes surgical removal is necessary. This often gives problems when wearing tight football boots.
Repeated ankle sprains
The most common injury of all in Gaelic, this can lead to long term discomfort at the front of the ankle and weakness and instability of the ankle.
The pain can be treated but it is also vital to restore strength and proprioreception to the ankle. Problems can persist long after the initial injury has healed and can require a cortisone injection to settle the condition of sinus tarsi syndrome.
Pain and strain sensation in the arch of the foot
A pulling tearing sensation in the arch of the foot is usually related to tightness of the plantar fascia, the thick ligament in the arch of the foot responsible for supporting the arch. Stretching excercises and orthotic insoles can resolve this complaint.
Thickening of the back of the heel.
Pain and thickening at the insertion of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel will often be associated with stiffness and pain on rising first thing in the morning, especially after playing sport the previous day. Cortisone injection therapy when used carefully can allow return to full fitness.
Ingrowing toe nails, thickened and discoloured nails.
Painful or infected toenails can be cured with a small operation done under local anaesthetic which removes the section of nail causing problems and cauterises the nail bed to stop that small section of nail from growing again.
Usually people who undergo this procedure can begin returning to sport within a week after the operation.
Shin splints or pain on the front of the leg when walking or running and pain in the Achilles tendon are all treatable conditions.
In a ‘one stop shop’ we would hope to treat the condition and then show you how to restore the muscles, tendons and ligaments to normal condition.
What our patients say:
‘Many thanks Tim for sorting out my shin splints. I’m still doing everything you told me and have not had any problems since’.
Gerard O’Kane Glenullin and Derry footballer
‘I had a painful heel that was stopping me from playing but one injection from Claire and I was back playing 5 days later’.
Eoin Bradley Derry and Glenullin GAC and Coleraine FC.
‘Many thanks for all the help and advice’.
Paddy Bradley All star 2007, Glenullin GAC