The Most Common Injury of Them All
Almost every professional athlete has had foot/ankle pain treatment at some point in their career, and most athletes have experienced it multiple times. Because of their role in supporting the athlete’s body weight – and the relative ease with which an ankle or foot can be twisted, strained, sprained or broken – foot and ankle injuries are extremely common among all athletes. With professional athletes, the risks increase as these joints and bones must bear more weight due to the professional athlete’s increased muscle mass and must bear more strain from the high speed cuts and pivots that professional athletes routinely make in most sports.
Foot/Ankle Pain Injuries Can Sometimes Last All Season
This results in a situation where many professional athletes receive almost continuous foot/ankle pain treatment in the form of wraps, icing, heating, and anti-inflammatory and painkilling injections – sometimes over the entire season. This type of long term foot/ankle pain treatment can lead to chronic damage and pain that can remain even after the professional athlete has retired from his or her professional sport. Many professional athletes also require surgery as part of their foot/ankle pain treatment and often rush back to the field of play before they are completely recovered, potentially causing further long term damage.
A Minor Injury Can Become a Career-Ending Injury
There are a number of injuries that can require foot/ankle pain treatment. These include: ankle strains or sprains, strained or torn tendons such as the achilles tendon, heel spurs, torn or inflamed ligaments such as Plantar Fasciitis, and broken bones in the ankle or foot. No matter what injury athletes suffer, the pain is a warning to stop putting “wear and tear” on the injured foot or ankle, and any foot/ankle pain treatment that enables the athlete to get back on the field immediately may have serious long term consequences. In particular, dulling an injury with pain medication and returning to the field of play can result in a relatively minor injury becoming much more serious and even career-ending. Unfortunately, many athletes (and coaches and owners) view this kind of short term foot/ankle pain treatment as appropriate when it is actually not in any of their long term interests.
The Risk of Painkiller Addiction from Foot/Ankle Injury Treatment
Using pain medication as a “quick fix” for foot/ankle pain treatment also has the additional disadvantage of potential addiction. Most painkillers are extremely addictive both psychologically and physically. For professional athletes with chronic, recurring injuries these dangers are even greater. In addition, team physicians often prescribe painkillers liberally for foot/ankle pain treatment due to the overwhelming pressure they are under (from coaches, owners, and the athletes themselves) to get professional athletes “back on the field.” This can result in professional athletes becoming addicted without even realizing it until it is too late. Many have to face the twin burden of a painful injury and a painful withdrawal from their pain medication. In addition, the easy access to drugs from their training staff and teammates can make this addiction particularly hard to break.