You may love playing sports, but there is no doubt that doing so increases your risk for injury. No matter how good your shoes or your equipment, how carefully you warm up, cool down, and stretch, or how much you practice the right techniques, accidents happen and you may end up with an ankle sprain or a broken bone. What you may not realize is that the damage can lead to problems years later in the form of post-traumatic arthritis.
It is so important that the original sprain or break is treated well and heals properly, which is why you shouldn’t try to play through any injury. Let Chiropodist Tony Abbott have a look and make sure that you are doing everything possible to help the damaged joint recover fully. That includes proper treatment, following weight-bearing guidelines, and doing physiotherapy to recondition your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Proper injury care is the first step in preventing post-traumatic arthritis in the future.
However, even with good care, a joint that has been injured may never be the same. This is not the same as the normal wear and tear type—osteoarthritis—that often affects people late in life. (Osteoarthritis is due to repetitive motion that gradually wears away at the tissue.) With a traumatic injury, any slight damage to the cartilage of a bone or the sheath of a tendon or ligament can be the beginning of a slow deterioration of the tissue that can take decades. It is like the teenager who sustains a bad ankle sprain playing soccer and then develops arthritis in the joint years later.
Two of the treatments for post traumatic arthritis that we often use at our foot clinic are manual therapy and laser therapy. Manual foot therapy is not the same as physiotherapy, which may involve machines or resistance equipment to strengthen or stretch your muscles and tendons. Rather, it takes an experienced professional to recognize the points in your feet that are triggering the problem and use hands-on manipulation to address them. Chiropodist Tony Abbott can determine which spots are painful, and then use massage and manual movement of the joints to bring relief. Direct trigger-point pressure is also involved, releasing knotted muscles and allowing proper blood flow to the area to increase your body’s healing process.
Laser therapy can also be very effective. This involves exposing the damaged joint to low levels of focused light waves to stimulate cell metabolism and repair. The treatments have few side effects, and the pain relief can come quickly. These treatments can also promote good circulation, to keep the healing properties in your blood flowing steadily to the injured cells.
There are two main things you can do to head off post-traumatic arthritis: one is immediate and the other is long term. The first, immediate action is to make sure you have any injury treated promptly and thoroughly by a trusted health care provider like Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic. Good healing is one of the best ways to prevent future problems in a damaged joint.
The second thing you can do is to care for the joint and yourself over the long haul. This includes lifestyle choices like eating right—not only to give your body the needed nutrients, but also to keep your weight under control. Carrying extra pounds is stressful for your joints. It also includes exercising wisely to keep your joints limber without exposing them to undue trauma that could injure them further. Certain sports expose you to jumps, twists and turns, and sudden stops and starts that could cause an injury, but there are many fun alternatives you can try that involve fewer impacts or risks. You may need to make adjustments in your activities at work if you have a job the puts stress on your joints (standing all day, heavy construction work, etc.).
If you sustain a foot injury or notice joint pain, don’t delay. Contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic for an evaluation of your issue right away. You can call our Collingwood, Ontario, office at (705) 444-9929 or schedule an appointment through our website. Do your best to ensure that post-traumatic arthritis won’t be part of your future. Call today!