Baseball players often subject their feet and ankles to significant stress, making them vulnerable to specific injuries. It’s important for athletes to understand these potential risks:
- Ankle Sprains: These are commonly experienced while running, fielding, or making contact with bases during sliding. Proper assessment from a foot and ankle surgeon is crucial to identify the severity of the sprain, including whether there has been damage to the peroneal tendons or fractures. A surgeon will prescribe an appropriate treatment plan, as insufficient care can lead to ongoing weakness in the ankle and repeated sprains.
- Overuse Injuries: Excessive training can lead to overuse issues like Achilles tendinopathy or heel pain, which includes conditions such as plantar fasciitis or, in children and teens, calcaneal apophysitis.
- Contusions: Players may sustain bruises due to being hit by the ball or through contact with other players.
- Issues from Cleats: While cleats are essential for playing baseball, they may cause problems in the forefoot. Wearing improperly fitted cleats can exacerbate issues with neuromas, sesamoids, bunions, and hammertoes. It’s essential to ensure that cleats fit well and that any foot or ankle injuries are evaluated by a specialist.
- Ingrown Toenails: Often seen in pitchers and catchers, ingrown toenails can occur if nails are trimmed too short or at an angle. The intense pressure placed on the toes during pitching and catching contributes to this condition. Without proper attention, ingrown toenails can lead to paronychia, an infection of the nail, or cellulitis, a serious bacterial infection of the skin.