The Running Doctor: Recognizing injuries in lacrosse

Lacrosse season is for everyone. From the very young through adult leagues. Many play year-round. It is estimated that some 300,000 U.S. youths up to 18 years of age play lacrosse yearly. Unfortunately, the number of injuries is staggering. A recent study by the Journal of Athletic Training collected data, representing samples of 100 U.S. emergency departments, which estimated 85,000 children were presented for related lacrosse injuries.

Some of the most common complaints we are now treating include ankle injuries, metatarsal and toe fractures and planter fasciitis (arch pain). Recently, a new injury has been diagnosed frequently. That is 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 due to ankle injuries. 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, then that person is more prone to injury. Prevention is a key factor to avoid an injury before it happens. Keep your body in balance and properly aligned to avoid future complications.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist. He is a former member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons. For more information visit