Award-Winning Austin Podiatrists Can Help You Treat and Prevent Spring Sports Foot Injuries

When winter wraps up, athletes and people who love to be outdoors eagerly return to training, exercising, and playing. But that return can bring injuries. How you respond to those injuries impacts how long they will interfere with your season. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we want you to experience the minimum amount of pain and disruption possible if you suffer a common sports injury. How to avoid spring sports injuries

The experienced podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists discuss how to best prepare for training and exercise and what you can do to help reduce your chance of injury.

Common Foot Injuries and Spring Sports

We see many of the same foot injuries every spring. They are often avoidable and associated with high-impact sports. Knowing how injuries happen and the type of sports that cause them may make it easier to protect your feet and ankles.

Overuse Injuries

Activities that involve repetitive motion, such as running and jumping, can lead to the following injuries:

  • Achilles tendinitis. This condition causes inflammation of the tendon at the back of the ankle, which may lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • Stress fractures. These tiny cracks in the bone can lead to swelling, pain, and discomfort.
  • Plantar fasciitis. This condition develops when the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. Generally, it leads to lingering pain in one foot but not both.
  • Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot from excess pressure.
  • Shin Splints. This condition is caused by overuse of the bone tissue, tendons, and muscles in the legs. It causes pain along the inner edge of the shinbone.
  • Strains. Strains can be either acute from a trauma incident or chronic from routine overuse. Symptoms include swelling, redness, warmth, bruising, difficulty walking, and pain.


A sprain injury is generally caused by some type of trauma. If you run or play soccer, tennis, or baseball, you may be more likely to develop a sprain. These injuries are quite common, leading many people to underestimate the importance of prompt and complete treatment. Failing to properly address sprains can lead to:

  • Repeated sprains
  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Arthritis in the ankle joint
  • Ongoing pain


Trauma can lead to broken bones in the feet and ankles. A fracture commonly occurs during a fall or when a person makes hard contact with an object or another player. Symptoms include bruising, swelling, difficulty bearing weight, tenderness, and pain that intensifies with activity.

Turf Toe

This is an injury to the main joint of the big toe, which can occur when the toe is repeatedly forced to bend in an unnatural way. The result can include damage to the ligaments, soft tissue, or tendons in that toe. Anyone who has to flex their toes and make quick changes in direction can suffer turf toe. If you run or play on a hard surface, you are at an increased risk of this condition.


Injuries aren’t just about what happens during a game. The choices you make before your first practice or training session can greatly impact your risk of being injured later on in the season. These choices include the following:

  • Choosing supportive footwear with good arch support, stability, and cushioning. Shoes should always be properly fitted and be replaced when they become worn. Shoes designed for your specific sport also reduce the risk of injury.
  • Ensuring you are training properly by working with your coach to confirm you are using proper technique. It is common for athletes to hurt themselves when unknowingly engaging in improper training.
  • Increasing the intensity and duration of activity gradually, by no more than 10 percent per week.
  • Cross-training by rotating between high and low-impact exercises. 
  • Warming up properly, spending at least ten minutes preparing your muscles for activity.
  • Using stretching and strengthening exercises to build up weak parts of the feet.
  • Paying attention to signs of pain and discomfort and modifying exercises accordingly.
  • Making it a point to rest and recover between workouts.
  • Considering custom orthotics, to provide additional protection for your feet.
  • Wearing a brace or ankle support if you have a history of ankle injuries


Sometimes, despite your best efforts to avoid them, injuries still happen. Depending on the nature of your sports injury, there are several interventions that could provide pain relief and expedite healing. Making an appointment with a podiatrist at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists will allow one of our doctors to diagnose your injury and recommend which specific strategies would be best for you, including:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Ice and/or heat
  • Custom orthotics
  • Rest
  • Crutches
  • Immobilization in a cast, brace, or boot
  • Lower-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, rowing, elliptical cardio, or bicycling to give your feet and ankles a break
  • Massage for the painful area
  • Night splints to stretch your foot while you sleep
  • Prescription medications
  • MLS laser therapy treatments
  • Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT)
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
  • Steroid injections


There may be times when a spring sports injury requires surgery, such as when more conservative approaches fail or when there is damage so severe the injury cannot heal. Surgery is generally a last resort due to a lengthy recovery time and increased risk of complications. However, your podiatrist may recommend surgery if you experience the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clots
  • Limited mobility
  • Failure to resolve pain

Consequences of Ignoring Foot Injuries

When in doubt, it is a good idea to be seen by our Austin podiatrists, as some conditions grow worse over time if they are not treated. For example, tendinitis can often be successfully treated with a number of non-invasive interventions. However, if it is left untreated, the tendon can rupture, and surgery may be the only option to correct the problem and avoid chronic pain and stiffness. Getting an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible and treatment for the issue right away reduces the risk that foot and ankle issues will contribute to problems in other parts of your body.

How an Austin Podiatrist Can Help

If you have experienced a foot or ankle injury while playing spring sports, or if you would like to take steps to prevent one, a podiatrist can work with you to develop a customized game plan to protect or heal your feet using the least invasive method possible. If you already have an injury, the foot and ankle specialists in our Austin, Texas clinic can ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and the treatment that you need to get back into your sport quickly without increasing your risk of further injuries. Some of the diagnostic tools our doctors use include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Should you require surgery, a podiatrist can help you as you prepare for and recover from your procedure. They can also answer any questions you might have about caring for your feet and ankles.

Craig Thomajan
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Austin Podiatrist