Dream of Competing in Final Four? Don't Get Sidelined by Foot and Ankle Injury

Anand Vora
​Anand M. Vora, MD
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society offers injury prevention advice
ROSEMONT, IL, March 7, 2012 –  Sports enthusiasts will be glued to the NCAA basketball playoffs this month, rooting for their alma mater or favorite college team.  For many children and teens, March madness coverage inspires them to excel. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 3.5 million children and teens get hurt annually playing organized sports.  Foot and ankle injuries account for 1/3 of these injuries. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) provides parents and players with tips and resources for reducing foot and ankle injuries.
According to the AOFAS, common foot and ankle injuries in youth sports include:  ankle sprain, stress fracture, foot and ankle tendonitis, Achilles Apophysitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon) and Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis (pain on the inside of the ankle). In basketball, additional foot and ankle stress is especially prevalent with excessive and sudden acceleration, deceleration, lateral movements, pivoting, jumping and landing. Although some injuries are less severe than others, there is always the potential for lifelong medical problems if youth ankle injuries are not initially treated properly.

Anand Vora, MD, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon who practices in Chicago and is a member of the AOFAS Public Education Committee offers the following advice, "Parents and children should recognize that foot and ankle pain with athletics is not normal and when persistent, medical evaluation is critical. Early diagnosis and recognition can prevent the majority of injuries from lingering for much longer than necessary and in some cases even help avoid the need for future surgery. Most foot and ankle injuries in children and teens can be treated effectively with rest, activity modification, physical therapy, and stabilization measures such as bracing. Some injuries, particularly when diagnosed late or when recurrent can be effectively treated surgically when necessary."

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society offers the following tips to reduce foot and ankle injury risk in sports:
  • Warm up prior to any sports activity, include thorough stretching 
  • Select the proper footwear for the specific type of exercise. Monitor the wear of existing shoes, and make sure they fit properly. Throw out old shoes.
  • Start out slowly following a layoff period from sports
  • Wear protective equipment appropriate for that sport
  • Listen to your child: If he/she complains about persistent pain, limit participation and seek an assessment by an orthopaedic surgeon
  • Reduce overuse injuries by taking a break from repetitive activity

Red flags or ankle injury warning signs:

  • Pain in the foot or lower leg that persists more than 72 hours
  • Swelling of the foot or leg that persists for more than 24 hours
  • Pain which increases with exercise or walking
  • Pain at rest or with elevation of the legs
For more information on foot and ankle injuries as well as resources on foot and ankle care, visit the AOFAS patient education website footcaremd.org. The site also features a surgeon referral service that makes it easy for patients to find a local orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle care.
About the AOFAS
The AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through the education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other health care providers. The Society creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, provides leadership, and serves as a resource for government and industry as well as the national and international health care communities.​
About Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery to treat patients of all ages. Relying on four years of medical school training, five years of post-graduate training and often a fellowship in foot and ankle care, orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons perform reconstructive procedures, treat sports injuries, and manage and treat trauma of the foot and ankle.


Jennifer Hicks
Public Education Manager
Office: 847-430-5079