San Francisco Bay Area Sports Medicine

Being a sports medicine specialist can be compared to coaching a team. The coach encourages his players to do their best and push themselves to the limit. In doing so, he also knows, however, that accidents do happen and people do get hurt.

I Ran a 5k! Thanks!

“Just to let you know, I’m back to playing basketball and ran a 5k after my Achilles heel surgery healed. Thanks.” -P.B.


Common Sports Medicine Conditions

Some of the most common injuries athletes sustain involve the heel, ankle and shin. I will comment on the three most common injuries treated at my clinic.

Plantar Fasciitis is an injury that occurs to the ligament on the bottom of the foot. This ligament stretches between the ball of the foot and heel. Runners and other athletes are vulnerable to this injury, regardless of whether they have a high or low arch. The injury takes place gradually as they increase their mileage or workout intensity. While many refer to this problem as heel spur syndrome, which is a close cousin, it is not actually a heel spur. The problem occurs where the ligament is attached at the heel. The sensation that is felt has been described as a “deep bruise” which is worse in the morning, just as one gets out of bed and after sitting for a period of time. The sensation tends to go away after a run or workout, but returns afterwards.

Ankle sprains are very common ankle injuries, usually the result of the ankle turning in. The sprain occurs when the ligaments supporting the outside of the ankle tear or rupture allowing the ankle to give way. Athletes who participate in lateral motion and jumping type sports, for example, racquetball and basketball, are prone to these type of injuries. Runners who workout on trails or uneven terrain are also at risk. Inversion ankle sprains, which occur in up to 8o of all ankle sprains are immediately and severely painful. The athlete usually senses a sharp pain on the outside and just in front of the ankle and instinctively reaches down to cradle the injured area. Localized swelling is almost universal. The more severe sprains will show signs of bruising.

Stress fractures are common among long distance runners and high impact aerobic athletes. These individuals wear down the bones with repetitive trauma and training. Fatigue of the supporting muscles are also involved. This problem usually occurs after a steep increase in workout intensity over a short period of time. A stress fracture commonly involves one of the metatarsals (the instep bones), the navicular (the arch bone) and heel bone. The tibia (shin bone) can also suffer from a stress fracture. Pain is present with or without activity – sharp and persistent throbbing, localized swelling, tenderness to touch and occasional bruising.

It’s wise to keep an eye one your injuries. Use these guidelines to recognize and treat these common sports injuries. Remember when in doubt, seek qualified medical advice from Dr. Niccoli at Alameda Family Podiatry Group.