Brandt R Gibson, DPM
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Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute

As I watch sports at varying levels (including my children at recreation, competition and even high school levels) I have noticed increased speed, increased power and increased strength.  The level of play, and the level of practice are much higher than when I participated.  These levels seem to increase every year.  The advantage is a more exciting game to watch.  The disadvantage, however, is increased risk of high speed trauma.

When high speed trauma occurs, a sprain is significantly more than occurs at lower speeds.  The word "sprain" is also often misconstrued to mean a player can return to activities quicker without risk of further injury.  It is imperative, however that care be utilized to return as the tissues heal and strength returns.

I recommend the following:

- Bone and Joint injuries should be given sufficient time to recover to avoid chronic pain, arthritis and even recurrent injuries. (Remember, bone takes 6-8 weeks to recover)

- Tendon injuries require 2-4 weeks to recover and should not be stressed during the early phases of this recovery or chronic weakness (and even tears) may cause chronic pain and injury.

- Ligament injuries also take 2-4 weeks to recover.  The problem with most ligament injuries, however, is the chronic laxity (looseness) that can present with poorly healed ligaments.  Thus a sprain can be a huge problem longterm if not cared for.

Prevention is the best way to treat any of these injuries.  Quality shoes, taping or bracing if high risk, and ensuring you walking and running patterns are normal can help in this matter.  You will play much longer if you take a period to recover or prevent the injury early on.

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