1321313.jpegSummer is the perfect season to enjoy the outdoors and stay active, whether you're hiking, playing sports, or just taking a leisurely walk. However, the increase in physical activity also brings a higher risk of ankle injuries, which can put a damper on your summer plans.

At Lake Erie Podiatry, we understand the importance of both staying active and staying safe. That's why Dr. Michael Ruiz, our leading podiatric physician and surgeon with over 20 years of experience, specializes in the prevention and treatment of all types of foot and ankle conditions. Whether you're looking to take proactive measures to protect your ankles this summer or are in need of expert treatment for an injury, we're here to help.

Don't let ankle injuries slow you down this summer. Schedule an appointment with Lake Erie Podiatry today for a pre-activity check-up or injury treatment and keep your summer active and enjoyable.

Request An Appointment

In this blog, we'll discuss the top 6 summer ankle injuries and how you can prevent them. By being aware of these common injuries and taking the necessary precautions, you can have a fun and injury-free summer.

1. Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are one of the most common summer injuries, resulting from the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the ankle. They typically occur when the foot is awkwardly twisted or turned, often during physical activities or by stepping unevenly on uneven surfaces.

Signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Pain, especially when bearing weight on the affected foot
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Limited range of motion
  • A popping sensation at the time of injury

To prevent ankle sprains:

  • Wear appropriate footwear for your activities
  • Strengthen ankle muscles with specific exercises
  • Work on improving your balance and proprioception
  • Be cautious on uneven surfaces

At Lake Erie Podiatry, treatment for sprained ankle includes:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE method) to reduce pain and swelling
  • Rehabilitation exercises to restore flexibility and strength
  • Proper bracing or taping for support during recovery
  • In severe cases, surgical intervention may be considered

2. Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is another common foot and ankle injury that can occur during the summer. It is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the tissue band connecting calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. This condition typically arises from repetitive stress to the tendon, often seen in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It can also occur in individuals engaging in a broad range of activities during summer, such as basketball or tennis, where there's a sudden increase in activity level.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon in the morning
  • Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity
  • Severe pain the day after exercising
  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Swelling that is always present and worsens throughout the day with activity

To prevent Achilles tendinitis, Dr. Ruiz recommends:

  • Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of workouts to avoid sudden stress on the tendon
  • Incorporating stretching exercises into your routine to enhance calf muscle flexibility
  • Wearing appropriate footwear that provides adequate cushioning and support during activities
  • Using custom orthotics to correctly align foot and ankle structures if necessary

For those already experiencing symptoms, treatment may include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with anti-inflammatory medications
  • In more persistent cases, physical therapy or even surgical intervention may be required

3. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small breaks or cracks in the bones, often occurring in the lower leg and foot as a result of overuse and repetitive force. This type of injury is common among athletes and individuals who suddenly increase their physical activity during the summer months. Unlike acute fractures that result from a single, severe impact, stress fractures develop gradually due to repeated stress on the bone over time.

Symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Persistent pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
  • Swelling and tenderness at a specific spot
  • Bruising may be present in some cases

To prevent stress fractures, it's essential to:

  • Increase activity level gradually and avoid sudden changes
  • Wear proper footwear that provides adequate cushioning and support for your activities
  • Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises into your routine to strengthen bones and muscles

If a stress fracture does occur, Lake Erie Podiatry can provide treatment options such as:

  • Rest and avoid weight-bearing activities until the bone has fully healed
  • Immobilization with a cast or boot to promote healing
  • Physical therapy to strengthen surrounding muscles and prevent future injuries
  • In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

4. Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the peroneal tendons, which run along the outside of the lower leg and foot and are essential for providing stability to the ankle and support to the arch. 

This condition is particularly relevant during the summer months, when an uptick in outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and beach sports can increase the risk of overuse injuries. Individuals may find themselves more susceptible to peroneal tendonitis due to the sudden increase in physical activity, especially if proper conditioning and strength training have been neglected.

Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include:

  • Pain and swelling around the back and outside of the ankle
  • Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
  • An increase in pain when turning the foot in or out
  • A sensation of weakness or instability in the ankle

Preventive measures include:

  • Gradually increasing activity levels to build strength and endurance
  • Incorporating ankle strengthening and flexibility exercises into regular training
  • Wearing supportive footwear tailored to the specific activity
  • Avoiding running on uneven surfaces when possible

Dr. Ruiz's approach to treating peroneal tendonitis emphasizes both immediate relief from symptoms and long-term prevention of recurrence. Treatment options include:

  • Rest and elevation to reduce inflammation and stress on the tendons
  • Ice therapy to manage pain and swelling
  • Compression bandages or ankle supports to stabilize the area during healing
  • Physical therapy focused on strengthening and stretching the peroneal tendons and surrounding muscles
  • Custom orthotics to correct any structural imbalances that may contribute to tendon stress
  • In cases where conservative treatments are not effective, surgical options may be considered to repair the damaged tendon

5. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects a broad spectrum of active individuals, characterized by intense heel pain stemming from the inflammation of the plantar fascia - a thin ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It is particularly prevalent among runners, hikers, and anyone who stands for prolonged periods, making it a frequent complaint during the active summer months.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • A sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel
  • Pain that is usually worse upon taking the first steps in the morning or after sitting for long periods
  • Pain that tends to decrease with activity but might return after prolonged periods of standing or when standing up after sitting
  • Mild swelling in the heel

To prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis, Dr. Ruiz recommends:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the plantar fascia
  • Choosing supportive footwear that provides adequate arch support and a cushioned sole
  • Avoiding excessively flat shoes or high heels for extended periods
  • Stretching the arches, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles regularly, especially before and after exercise
  • Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of physical activities

Treatment for plantar fasciitis at Lake Erie Podiatry involves a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on relieving pain and inflammation while addressing the root causes of the condition to prevent recurrence. Treatment options include:

  • Rest and icing the affected area to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain
  • Over-the-counter or prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain and swelling
  • Custom orthotics designed to provide proper foot alignment and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia
  • Physical therapy sessions to stretch and strengthen the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and lower leg muscles
  • Advanced treatments such as shock wave therapy or corticosteroid injections for cases that do not respond to more conservative measures
  • Surgical options are considered only when conservative treatments have been exhausted, and significant pain persists

6. Ankle Impingement

Ankle impingement refers to the pinching or compression of tissues in the ankle joint, which can occur at the front (anterior impingement) or back (posterior impingement) of the ankle. This condition is often due to repetitive activities that force the ankle into extreme positions, leading to irritation or damage of the soft tissues or bone structures surrounding the joint. Athletes, particularly those engaged in sports requiring frequent jumping or changes in direction, are at higher risk of developing ankle impingement.

Symptoms of ankle impingement include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the front or back of the ankle, particularly during activity
  • Swelling and stiffness in the affected area
  • Decreased range of motion in the ankle
  • Pain when pushing off the foot or when stretching the foot upwards (dorsiflexion)

Preventive measures include:

  • Proper conditioning and strength training of the lower leg muscles to support the ankle
  • Incorporating flexibility exercises to maintain a good range of motion in the ankle joint
  • Using correct technique in sports and physical activities to avoid overloading the ankle
  • Wearing appropriate footwear that offers support and does not restrict ankle movement

Dr. Ruiz and his team offer a comprehensive approach to managing and treating ankle impingement. Treatment options include:

  • Rest and activity modification to reduce stress on the ankle
  • Ice therapy and anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy exercises aimed at improving ankle strength, flexibility, and stability
  • Advice on footwear and orthotic devices to support proper ankle alignment and function
  • In more severe cases or when conservative treatments are not effective, minimally invasive surgery may be recommended to remove the impinged tissue or bone causing the pain

Enjoy a Healthy Summer with Lake Erie Podiatry!

Summer activities, while refreshing and enjoyable, can expose individuals to a higher risk of foot and ankle injuries, including plantar fasciitis and ankle impingement. These conditions, if not properly managed, can significantly impact one's mobility and overall quality of life.

Dr. Ruiz and the skilled team at Lake Erie Podiatry are dedicated to providing comprehensive care that addresses both the symptoms and the root causes of these ankle injuries. With their expertise, patients can expect a personalized treatment plan designed to promote a swift and effective recovery.

Don't let ankle injuries put a damper on your summer fun. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruiz at Lake Erie Podiatry today.

Request An Appointment