Lacrosse season is here with everyone from the young to the older playing the sport. It's estimated that some 300,000 U.S. youth from ages 2 to 18 play lacrosse yearly.
Unfortunately, the number of injuries is staggering. A recent study by the Journal of Athletic Training collected dates, representing samples of 100 U.S. emergency departments estimating that 85,000 children were presented for related lacrosse injuries.
Some of the most common complaints we're now treating include ankle injuries, metatarsal and toe fractures, along with and plantar fasciitis (arch pain). Recently, a new injury has been diagnosed frequently: Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome commonly occurs when a nerve -- the tibial nerve which runs down the leg on the inside of the ankle to the foot -- becomes compressed or impinged at the area of the ankle joint. This type of injury to the nerve tissue can cause pain, numbness, burning and tingling.
Many of these injuries have a great deal to do with hypermobility, or too much motion to the ankle joint and foot. Such injuries are not just limited to lacrosse, but all athletic endeavors. In many cases, conservative therapy -- including physical therapy and joint and muscle range of motion exercises -- can be helpful.
At times, more aggressive therapy is needed. But the one most important issue is cause and effect. If the foot and ankle have a great deal of hypermobility and motion, that person is more prone to injury. Prevention is a key factor to avoid injuries before they happen. Keep your body in balance and properly aligned to avoid future complications.
Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.