Lower Limb Injuries in Sports

The lower limb consists of hip joint, thigh, knee, calf, ankle and foot. They are important for motion and standing. Playing sports, running, falling, or having an accident can injure any part of your lower limbs. Lower limb injuries are by far the most common injuries occurring in sports more so in all outdoor games. They are increasingly prevalent and responsible for large economic and personal burdens.

Lower Limb Injuries

Numerous injuries occur each year caused by sport, resulting in decreased physical activity and work time. Lower limb injuries affect anywhere from the hips down to the foot.

Some of the common lower limb injuries include knee injury, foot injury, ankle injury, and running injury.

Knee injury

Knee injuries can be a result of awkward movements, falls and collisions, sudden twists, excessive force, or overuse. Such events could cause injuries to the knee joint and the structures supporting it. Common knee injuries include ligament, tendon and cartilage tears, and patella-femoral pain syndrome.

Foot injury

Overuse, overtraining, weak muscles and tendons, trauma and poor technique can all lead to foot injuries. Athletes commonly suffer foot injuries during their career. Foot injuries can cause them significant pain, discomfort and in some cases can sideline them for some time.

Ankle injury

Ankle injuries are extremely common, with sprained ankle as the most frequent. Something as simple as walking on an uneven surface can cause a rolled ankle, which results in an ankle sprain.

Running injury

45% of the total injuries to the lower extremity are accounted to running related injuries. Specifically, overuse injuries are the most common among runners who run on a regular basis.

Risk Factors

Injury risks can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic factors are those that are from the outside of the body. These include competition level, skill level, shoe type, ankle bracing, and playing surface. Intrinsic factors are those that are from within the body. These include age, sex, menstrual cycle phase, previous injury and inadequate rehabilitation, aerobic fitness, body size, limb dominance, flexibility, muscle strength, imbalance, and reaction time, limb girth, postural stability, anatomical alignment, and foot morphology.

Usually the initial treatment for most lower limb injuries involve rest, ice, elevation, and other first aid measures such as application of a brace, splint, or cast. Some injuries are treated with medicine or surgery.

How Physiotherapy Helps

Physiotherapists are highly reliable when it comes to assessment of lower limb injuries, which includes lumbo-pelvic control and mobility, foot position, hip range of motion, and muscle control of the hip and ankle. Other important components of assessment and rehabilitation of lower limb injuries include proprioception and balance.

Preventative training is an important part of a sports training programme. A structured warm-up programme is designed to improve awareness and control of the lower body during performance and training.

Warm-up strategies and exercises can reduce lower extremity injury incidence in athletes as well as in any other active people. Our Perth physiotherapists can help with implementing these strategies effectively to keep you safe during physical activity.

If you would like to talk to us about your condition or simply need help about injury prevention, call us at 9444 8729 today!