Don’t Play Through Pain

As an athlete you have dedicated many hours to your sport and when an injury occurs many continue to play despite the presence of pain. Unfortunately, playing through an injury can make treatment and recovery more difficult as well lead to lifelong complications. To ensure proper recovery it is imperative that athletes seek a prompt diagnose so an appropriate treatment plan can be implemented.

Athletes often don’t realize how serious an injury can be and the long term effects of not seeking prompt treatment. Often they think if they can bear weight on the affected foot or ankle than its ok to rush back into competition. They don’t realize, there are serious injuries that one can on occasion walk on. For example, it is possible to walk on some Lisfranc injuries. Untreated Lisfranc injuries can result in severe long-term complications like chronic pain, osteoarthritis and even foot deformities. Sometime this injury is mistaken for an “ankle sprain” by athletes and ignored.

Play Through Pain

Another common injury that is often overlooked are fractures of the fifth metatarsal. These injuries can occur with ankle sprains or the athlete may think it is just a sprain. Common fractures at the base of the 5th metatarsal bone include: Avulsion and Jones fractures. In an avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone is pulled off by a tendon or ligament. This type of fracture can occur after abnormal rolling of the ankle. They are often overlooked when they occur with an ankle sprain. Jones fractures occur in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that receives less blood. Due to the lack of blood flow they can be difficult to heal. They can occur from either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that occurs over time) or an acute (sudden) break. Overuse, repetitive stress or trauma can all result in creating a Jones fracture. They are less common and more difficult to treat than avulsion fractures.

Other types of fractures can occur in the fifth metatarsal as well. Examples include midshaft fractures, which usually result from trauma or twisting, and fractures of the metatarsal head and neck. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, tenderness on the outside of the foot, bruising, and difficult walking.

Playing through pain is never recommended for anyone (athletes and non-athletes). If you experience pain during physical activity or sustain an injury seek treatment immediately. A foot and ankle specialist can determine the best course of treatment for the specific injury and return you back to your sport pain free.

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