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Common Sports Injuries: Looking At Winter

Winter in Michigan brings a flurry of activities, from basketball and wrestling to cheerleading, that captivate enthusiasts of all ages. While these sports foster camaraderie and exhilaration, they also carry a risk of foot and ankle injuries that can put a damper on the season’s festivities. 

At Kalamazoo Podiatry, we understand the importance of staying active while prioritizing foot health. In this blog, we’ll explore common winter sports injuries, their treatment options, and how to safeguard your feet for a season of safe and enjoyable athletic pursuits.

Common Winter Sports in Michigan

Basketball: With its fast-paced nature and dynamic movements, basketball places significant stress on the feet and ankles. Jumping, cutting, and pivoting can lead to a range of injuries, from sprains to fractures.

Wrestling: Wrestling demands agility, strength, and flexibility, making it a rigorous sport for the lower extremities. Wrestlers are prone to foot and ankle injuries due to the high-impact nature of the sport and the potential for sudden twists and turns.

Cheerleading: Cheerleading combines gymnastics, dance, and acrobatics, requiring participants to execute intricate routines with precision and grace. The repetitive nature of cheerleading movements can lead to overuse injuries in the feet and ankles.

Common Winter Sports Foot and Ankle Injuries

Fractures/Breaks: Fractures occur when there is a break in the bone, often resulting from sudden impacts or excessive force. Stress fractures, common in basketball players, can develop gradually over time due to repetitive stress on the bones.

Sprains: Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are stretched or torn, typically due to sudden twisting or rolling movements. Sprains are graded based on severity, ranging from mild (Grade 1) to severe (Grade 3) ligament damage.

Achilles Tendinitis/Ruptures: The Achilles tendon, located at the back of the ankle, can become inflamed or torn due to overuse or sudden movements. Achilles tendinitis causes pain and stiffness in the tendon, while a rupture results in a partial or complete tear, often accompanied by a popping sensation.

Treatment Options

The Importance of RICE for Foot and Ankle Injuries:

  • Rest: Immediately cease activity and avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle.
  • Ice: Apply ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Compression: Use a compression bandage or wrap to stabilize the injury and minimize swelling.
  • Elevate: Elevate the injured foot or ankle above heart level to promote drainage of excess fluid and reduce swelling.

Specific Treatment Options for Each Injury


  • Treatment may include immobilization with a cast or boot to promote healing.
  • Physical therapy may be recommended to restore strength and range of motion.
  • Severe fractures may require surgical intervention to realign the bones and facilitate healing.


  • Grade 1 sprains typically respond well to conservative treatment with RICE and rest.
  • Grade 2 and 3 sprains may require a period of immobilization with a brace to support the injured ligaments.
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen the ankle and improve stability.

Achilles Tendinitis/Ruptures:

  • Conservative treatment for Achilles tendinitis may include rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • A brace or heel lift may be prescribed to reduce tension on the tendon.
  • In severe cases of Achilles tendon rupture, surgical repair may be necessary to reattach the tendon and restore function.
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Preventing Winter Sports Injuries

  • Warm-Up and Stretch: Before engaging in winter sports activities, it’s essential to warm up the muscles and stretch properly to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Use Proper Equipment: Ensure that you wear appropriate footwear and protective gear for your chosen sport, including supportive shoes and ankle braces if necessary.
  • Gradually Increase Intensity: Avoid overexertion by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts or training sessions.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain, and don’t ignore them. Rest and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain or swelling.

At Kalamazoo Podiatry, we’re committed to promoting foot health and preventing sports-related injuries throughout the winter season and beyond. By understanding the risks associated with winter sports and taking proactive measures to protect your feet and ankles, you can enjoy a season of safe and fulfilling athletic endeavors.

If you or a loved one experiences a foot or ankle injury while participating in winter sports, don’t hesitate to contact us for expert evaluation and personalized treatment. Together, let’s keep you on your feet and in the game all season long.

To learn more about preventing and treating winter sports injuries, schedule a consultation with Kalamazoo Podiatry today. Our experienced podiatrist is here to support you in achieving optimal foot health and performance, so you can enjoy all that the winter season has to offer, injury-free.

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