Top 5 Baseball Foot & Ankle Injuries: Treatment & Therapy to Get Players Back in the Game
Posted by Jenn F. on Friday, April 11th, 2014
Atlanta Braves fans were dismayed last July when pitcher Tim Hudson was taken out for the season with a broken ankle. TotalProSports.com called it “the most disgusting baseball injury you’ll see all year.” The accident occurred when NY Mets’ left fielder Eric Young Jr. hit a ground ball that bounced off the chest of first baseman Freddie Freeman. Hudson ran over to cover first base, but inadvertently got himself right in the pathway of the incoming sprinter who stepped directly onto Hudson’s ankle.
Though the precise circumstances were rare, ankle fractures are actually quite common among baseball players. Find out what other baseball season foot and ankle injuries we routinely treat at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York.
Note: If you are not too squeamish, you can check out Tim Hudson’s terrifying ankle fracture here:
5 Most Common Foot & Ankle Injuries in Baseball
- Ankle sprains & fractures: Ankle sprains and fractures often occur while running to base, fielding balls, or sliding into bases. Failure to treat a sprain or fracture appropriately can lead to the development of chronic ankle instability or arthritis, so it’s very important to have this type of injury evaluated by a professional. You can stabilize an injury at home using rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy, but a professional will be able to outfit you with a wrap, stability walking boot, or cast while your injury heals.
- Peroneal tendon injuries: These tendons attach the outer part of the midfoot to the inside arch to maintain foot and ankle stability. Injuries to the peroneal tendon occur gradually with overuse. Severe injuries may take six weeks or longer to heal. Rest is most important for tendon injuries, but it can be tricky to orchestrate. That’s why it’s best to see a NY podiatrist who can assess your unique biomechanics and decide which treatment option is best for you. You may be sent home with a CAM Walker boot for several weeks or you may just require an orthotic insert in your shoe that tilts the foot and offloads pressure from the injured tendon. Physical therapy can help you maintain mobility through the recovery. Our Center also offers platelet-rich plasma injections to stimulate prompt healing if necessary. In rare cases, surgery to repair torn tendons is another option.
- Plantar fasciitis: Chronic heel pain occurs when the fibrous band of tissue connecting the heel with the arch becomes torn and inflamed. Recovery time is about six weeks. Conservative treatment involves ice, rest, a new pair of shoes, and weight loss. The next level of treatment includes fitting you for custom orthotics and fitting you with a night splint. Some people require corticosteroid shots for immediate acute pain relief. Walking casts help busy people slow down and take it easy to facilitate recovery. In rare instances where the pain has persisted for 6-12 months or more, surgery may be beneficial. In fact, 75% of the people who get this type of surgery say it’s helped tremendously.
- Achilles tendinopathy: Overtraining and sudden increase in physical activity are the main culprits behind Achilles tendon injuries in baseball. It could take 6-9 months for a return to play. Initial treatment begins with rest, NSAID or corticosteroid medication, a change of shoes or insertion of heel lifts, stretching, and strength training. About 25% of patients require more advanced treatment such as surgery, injections, or Extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
- Neuromas: Nerve damage to the balls of the feet can be caused by ill-fitting shoes or repetitive running. Players report that it always feels as though they are “walking on a marble.” Recovery time is between three and six weeks. Neuroma treatment ranges from anti-inflammatory medication and orthotics, to alcohol injections, and minimally-invasive cryosurgery.
Treat Baseball Foot & Ankle Injuries in New York
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is well-equipped to handle any foot or ankle injury that a baseball player may encounter. We have two offices — one in Manhattan and one in Westchester. All our professionals are board-certified podiatric surgeons who can diagnose and repair the common baseball injuries mentioned in this article. In addition to routine care, we also offer the latest breakthrough technologies to aid in healing. Platelet-rich plasma injections and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy are just two of the innovative treatment options we can offer recovering athletes. Schedule your appointment today.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.