As lacrosse continues to grow virtually all over the country, more playing time and more players equate to more injuries in what was once considered a sport with substantially lower injuries than others such as soccer or football.
US Lacrosse – the sport’s national governing body – has seen a steady climb in lacrosse players for more than a decade. Its recent survey reported close to 800,000 currently playing on organized teams, which is up 3.5% from 2013 and has grown on average by 10% per year since 2002.
Common injury in both girls and boys lacrosse? Non-contact ankle sprains. Injury to this ligament commonly occurs in lacrosse because of the sharp pivoting and dodging movements required. Ankle sprains can not only prevent play but also result in ensuing ankle weakness and discomfort for months to come. Contusions (bruising) often appear at the sight of the injury, ranging from superficial with slight discoloration in the skin to a more painful consequence located deep within muscle and soft tissue. The player can experience lateral, medial, or high ankle sprains depending on the corresponding movement and impact, and even ankle fractures that can sometimes require surgery. Often, after players experience an initial ankle sprain they continue to pursue the season without a proper diagnosis or healing protocol, allowing a more serious injury with activity on the prior sprain.
Symptoms not to ignore and act on immediately? Swelling from buildup of fluid in the tissue; redness that advances to noticeable bruising; pain with pressure or certain foot movements.
At Arlington Foot & Ankle, we prescribe a holistic approach that fits the severity and nature of the injury, sharing parent/player desire to have the player safely back on the field. Our recovery schedule comprises a personalized combination of ice, down time, anti-inflammatory meds as well as untrasound, laser treatment, and fitted sleeves to excel the healing process, coupled with an exercise plan to regain strength around the injured area.
Just as proper stretching and strength training can help prevent ankle sprains to begin with, accurate diagnosis and treatment is key to recovery and avoidance of future complications.