Return Of NFL Means More Foot And Ankle Injuries

Look Out for These Common Football Injuries on Super Bowl Sunday

The big day is almost here, and you’ve got the football sitting on your coffee table just waiting for the yearly halftime game. A good three-on-three may burn off some of the nachos and drinks at your Super Bowl party, but just because you want to play like the pros doesn’t mean you should have to suffer the injuries that they do.

Foot Injuries to Look Out for This Super Bowl Sunday

While enthusiastic fans are most likely to suffer slips and falls that send them to the emergency room on Super Bowl Sunday, players can sustain any number of injuries that take them out of the game. Running, cutting across the field, or a hard tackle have all caused severe foot and ankle trauma, including:

  • Lisfranc injury. A Lisfranc injury is one of the most common types of pro football foot trauma. The Lisfranc joint is made up of ligaments that attach the bones in the middle of the foot to the bones in the toes. Depending on the type of injury, the Lisfranc ligament may be stretched (sprain), the joint itself may be broken (fracture), or the bones in the joint may be forced out of alignment (dislocation). If the trauma is severe, a player may suffer a combination of these injuries.

  • Turf toe. Many injuries have been attributed to running and jumping on artificial turf. One such injury, labeled turf toe, is often seen in football players. It often occurs when players squat, jump, or push off from the ground and break into a run, placing all of their weight on the joint in their big toe. The plates and ligaments in the joint may be stretched or even torn, causing extreme pain and an inability to balance on the foot.

  • Ankle sprains. Impact and sudden changes in direction are the most common causes of ankle sprains. Any sideways movement (such as a block or tackle) can cause the ankle to roll sideways, causing a lateral ankle sprain. Players who become trapped in a pile-up after a tackle may sprain their ankles due to compression, while a twisting injury can often tear the ligaments in the ankle and require surgery to correct.

  • Fractures. While all of the bones in the ankles, feet, and toes are at risk when football players crash into each other, they are also at risk during training. Stress fractures, or small breaks in the bone, can occur little by little and are common in athletes who perform the same motions every day.

  • Repetitive strain. It’s a long road to the Super Bowl, and players often undergo extensive training sessions in order to prepare for the big game. Unfortunately, overuse of tendons and ligaments can cause injuries before the game even takes place, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, or heel spurs. In particular, Achilles tendinitis causes so much pain at the back of the ankle it can affect a player’s ability to run.

What to Do If a Foot or Ankle Injury Takes You Out of the Game

Pro athletes are paid to stay in the game—you’re not! If your podiatrist says you need rest, don’t try to push it. Trying to play or even practice on a foot or ankle injury will often make the damage worse, so stick to the sidelines until your doctor agrees that you’re ready to get back on the field. To get more of our great tips on taking care of your feet, click the link on this page to order our free guide, Foot and Ankle Health.