TIPS TO PREVENT FOOT AND ANKLE INJURIES IN ATHLETES

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years

Disclaimer:

This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.
 

Image Credits: The Center 

Tips to Prevent Foot and Ankle Injuries in Athletes

If there is a body part prone to injuries in the athlete that is the ankle. Ankle sprain is the most common presentation to hospital emergencies. The dreaded sprains, sprains or ligament tears can have a good season apart from sport.

In this regard, we turn to the insights offered by Dr. Gordon Slater, who is a popularly orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Slater has a vast client portfolio and specializes in ankle fusion surgeries, foot surgeries, minimally invasion surgeries, ankle problems, and other orthopedic conditions. Here is some advice using the principles of orthopedics by Dr. Slater:

Foot and ankle injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common, especially in sports, especially those related to athletics, basketball, tennis and soccer (although there are many others).

An ankle or foot injury can cause you to leave your favorite sport for a good time, but don’t be alarmed either: sports enthusiasts can reduce the risk of injury by taking some precautions. Statistics have indicated that men ranging between the ages of 15 and 24 are the mean candidates for ankle sprain. While all individuals are prone to an injury, the activity level, often tied to athletics, is identified as the root cause of ankle sprain. As a statistically significant injury, ankle injuries are an important focus. 

Types of Ankle Injuries

There are three types of ankle injuries: sprains, strains and fractures.  The classifications are determined by the part of the anatomy that is impacted by the stress. These stresses include whether the bone, ligament or tendon is damaged. The ankle ligaments are elastic connective tissues that facilitate mobility in the ankle site. Tendons are the muscle and bone connectors, and facilitate joint stability. When a bone breaks, the injury is defined as a fracture. Ligament damage caused by various microtears is defined as a sprain. Damage to the muscles and tendons is what creates a strain. 

Causes of Ankle Injuries

As a vertically and horizontally aligned muscle and bone alignment, an ankle injury often occurs when the ankle joint is twisted out of its normal position. Even though ankle injuries can be induced predominantly by sports, women who wear high heels and or loose fitting shoes that can induce unstable walking conditions, can generate the conditions that will induce ankle injuries. A WebMD study indicated that the following root causes predominantly influence ankle injuries:

  • Tripping or falling
  • Landing awkwardly after a jump
  • Walking or running on uneven surfaces
  • A sudden impact such as a car crash
  • Twisting or rotating the ankle
  • Rolling the ankle

Indication of an Ankle Injury

Once an ankle injury is induced, the patient will usually experience pain, swelling, bruising and limited mobility.Your orthopaedic surgeon will be the one to classify your injury. 

PREVENTION OF ANKLE INJURIES

Warm-up before any sports activity

Warming up is crucial to prepare both the feet and the ankles for the subsequent action, typical of each sport.

Stretch slightly or better yet, take a slow walk for two to three minutes to warm up the muscles. Do not force the stretch with a “bouncing motion.”

Many people confuse warming with stretching. Stretching the feet in depth can lead to typical injuries that the pressure offers, such as tears, strains and even some tendon rupture.

The warm-up intends to prepare the feet for the subsequent exercise, so try to do gentle exercises in which prime the mobility that prepares the feet for the exercise you are going to do.

Condition your muscles for sport

The amount of time spent on the activity should be gradually increased over a period of weeks to develop both muscle strength and mobility. Cross-training by participating in different activities can help strengthen muscles.

We must not have agreed to do everything to the fullest the first day. If you can, first make a program that allows you to record your evolution data and stick to that routine.

Watch the shoes you wear

In principle, you should choose shoes that are well prepared for the environment but do not be fooled by the brands that ensure this or that. Especially for the miraculous marks.

Ideally, learn the technique and look for a sports shoe that allows them to move freely, as if barefoot.

Think of finding sneakers with a wide last, and that has no height difference between the heel and the toe. The shoes of narrow shape could end up deforming the feet and can cause, over time, bunions, tendon deformities and even problems in the foot.

Gradually access irregular terrain

Running on terrain that shows many irregularities is one of the exercises that strengthen the feet and ankles the most. But you can’t pretend to start from scratch, because it requires progressive preparation.

Start on smooth and regular floors and gradually add difficulty. In a few months, you can progress to rougher terrain. Let pain be your guide!!

References: 
WebMD: Ankle Injuries, Sprains and Strains: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/ankle-injuries-causes-and-treatments#1

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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