How to Treat Common Summer Injuries

Summer weather is perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Increased physical activity is great for mental, emotional, and physical health but has risks.

Injury-inducing sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Trail Running
  • Volleyball

However, tripping over uneven surfaces and misstepping off a curb or in a stairwell can cause an injury as severe as you would find in athletes. 

When injuries occur, take the necessary time to heal to avoid possible long-lasting complications.

Read on to learn how to treat common summer injuries.

Knee Injuries

Some knee injuries may take a couple of weeks to heal, while others can take months. Damage to the knee is often a result of:

  • Overusing,
  • Overstretching, and
  • Hyperextending the joint.

Common knee injuries include meniscus tears and patella (kneecap) dislocation. Perhaps, the most infamous injury of them all is a torn ACL.

Complete ACL Tears (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

The ACL is one of the four primary ligaments that hold the knee joint’s bones together, keeping the joint stable.

A complete tear of the ACL means you’ve torn the ligament in half or pulled it off the bone, effectively destabilizing the knee.

Non-Surgical Rehabilitation

Treatment for a complete tear begins with several weeks of rehabilitation via physical therapy. Your doctor may also instruct you to wear a knee brace and use crutches.

This rehabilitation may be enough for some people:

  • Athletes who only participate in low-demand sports (e.g., jogging, swimming, cycling, etc.). And experience no instability symptoms during physical activity.
  • People who participate in light manual work or live sedentary lifestyles.

Surgical Treatment

Reconstruction surgery is suggested for active adult patients and young children or adolescents.

  • Significant functional instability.
  • Combined injuries (e.g., tearing the ACL and MCL simultaneously).

Post-operative rehabilitation can be broken up into five phases that typically take about 6 – 12 months for a patient to complete. The purpose of this period is to:

  • Reduce Swelling.
  • Maintain Kneecap Mobility.
  • Regain Full-Range of Motion.
  • Strengthen the Hamstring and Quadriceps.
  • Restore Balance and Control to the Injured Leg.

Acute Soft-Tissue Injuries

Most acute soft-tissue injuries are sprains, strains, or contusions resulting from sudden trauma (e.g., a fall, blow to the body, or twisting movement).

The damaged “soft tissue” includes:

The initial treatment for all soft-tissue injuries is to follow the R.I.C.E protocol:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Ankle sprains are particularly common.

Ankle Sprains

A sprain occurs when there is a stretch or tear of a ligament and is classified by its severity:

  • Grade 1 – mild; slight stretching and damage to the ligament’s fibers.
  • Grade 2 – moderate; a partial tear; abnormal joint looseness.
  • Grade 3 – severe; a complete tear (see “Complete ACL Tears” above).

Almost all ankle sprains, even a complete tear, can heal without non-surgical treatment.

Ankle Sprain Treatment

Doctors create a treatment plan for all ankle sprains around a three-phase program.

Phase 1

  • Duration: 1 week
  • A short period of immobilization, rest, and ice.

Phase 2

  • Duration: 1 – 2 weeks
  • Physical therapy to restore strength, range of motion, and flexibility.

Phase 3

  • Duration: weeks – months
  • Slowly returning to low-demand activities and continuing maintenance exercises until cleared for high-demand activity.
  • View: “Foot and Ankle Conditioning Program” from the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons).

We Can Treat Your Summer Foot & Ankle Injuries!

At The Foot & Ankle Center, we treat an extensive list of conditions, including:

We can help treat your summer injury and more! Request an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists for the reliable care you need.