ASK THE ORTHOPAEDIC SPORTS MEDICINE EXPERT
Foot and Ankle Pain After Playing Sports
David W. Boone, M.D.
Question: I am a 40-year old tennis play and my feet and ankles hurt after consecutive days of play. What can cause this?
Answer: The first step is to determine whether the injury is acute or chronic.
For acute injuries, medical attention should be sought if walking on the affected side is painful and limited. Acute injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendon ruptures, and ankle fractures. If you can walk on the affected side, it would be reasonable to use rest, ice, compression, and elevation for a few days to see how the ankle responds. If the situation does not improve, orthopaedic evaluation is indicated.
For chronic injuries, rest from activity is appropriate. Chronic problems of the foot and ankle in athletes include plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, ankle instability and stress fractures. If your injury causes pain with every step you take, a stress fracture may be your problem, and in that case, you will likely need orthopaedic evaluation with x-rays. Ankles that want to consistently “roll over” from an old sprain will also benefit from orthopaedic evaluation as repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic joint damage.
Don’t forget to wear supportive shoe wear as worn out shoes are frequently the culprit in many acute and chronic athletic foot and ankle injuries.
Dr. David Boone received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and his medical school degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He did his orthopaedic residency at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and he did a year of fellowship training in Foot and Ankle Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr Boone is a team physician for North Carolina State University and he has taken care of the athletes at Sanderson High School since 1994.