Sports Injuries: What does Baseball, Softball & Tennis Have In Common?
Movement, that could result in injuries. The mechanics of the foot and ankle closely resemble each other in all three of these sports, and unfortunately, so does the risks of injury.
A few of the common movements associated with tennis, baseball, and softball include short sprints, jumps and hops, lateral movements, pivots and turns, and lunging, among others. These movements all carry their own risks:
- Short sprints – Short bursts of explosive movement can produce a shearing on the toe, ankle and knee joints. At the least, this type of shearing can cause chronic blistering or damage to the fat pad on
the ball of the feet.
- Jumps and hops – Movements such as the split step and drop step can lead to stress fractures, bruising and forefoot pain.
- Lateral movements – Sidestepping and shuffling, sideways sprints and crossover stepping can create soft tissue trauma on the balls of the feet, and can also lead to strains and sprains of the ankle.
- Pivots and turns – Any rapid directional changes where the body moves while the foot stays planted can be dangerous to the joints and create dislocations of the toes, ankles or knees.
- Lunging – Lunging to catch or hit a ball places a lot of stress on the leg stepping forward, and ankles and knees can be weakened over time by this repetitive high-impact movement.
Selecting the proper footwear can minimize your risk of injury and improve your performance. The surface that you play on also plays a major role in risk reduction. For example, grass and clay fields tend to have more give, while hard surfaces
like public courts produce more stress on the legs. Always make sure the shoes you are wearing are appropriate for the court or field you are playing on, and if you have weakened ankles from prior injuries, be sure your shoes have strong ankle support. Socks that have padding built into the heel and ball can reduce tissue damage and overuse injuries on the bottoms of the feet. Inserts or orthotics are always recommended if you have flat feet, inversion or eversion of the ankle, or any other foot or ankle condition that warrants customized support.
Cleats present their own set of challenges as well. Their stiff outer soles are designed for grip, not comfort, and aim to provide stability in the sport for which they are designed. We recommend having a professional fitting for these, as your feet should feel comfortable immediately when wearing, with no breaking in period. Cleats are meant to fit snugly, but if they are too tight, they could cut off circulation to the foot, create a moisture problem without proper ventilation, and lead to fungal infections.
Request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists, all of which work closely with both amateur and professional athletes, by clicking here or call any of our convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.