Malposition of the foot, ankle may lead to sports injuries
Bunions common among athletes due to excessive pronation
In an article in the March issue of Lower Extremity Review (LER), the author explores the biomechanics of the foot when it comes to landing during sports and explains that certain foot conditions may have significant impact on injury risk.
Among the conditions discussed in the article are low or high arches, both of which present unique problems.
In the LER article, ankle taping and orthotics are suggested as ways to correct improper foot landing and prevent injury. The author states that some research has shown that these interventions reduce kinetic variables that may lead to traumatic knee injury, but noted that there are some drawbacks.
Taping the ankle reduces the range of motion in the joint, which may decrease chances of a sprained ankle.
"However, taping functionally limits ankle range of motion in the sagittal plane, possibly limiting the displacement available at the ankle and applying greater loads to the knee joint and its supporting connective tissues," the writer reports.
Ankle bracing, on the other hand, appeared to have less adverse effects than taping, though neither intervention had any significant implications for preventing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Orthotics are also commonly used to correct foot malalignment the LER article states. In a 13-year study of 150 female basketball players, the devices appeared to have positive effects on knee injuries. Another clinical trial suggested that orthotics reduced risks of ACL injuries in women athletes.
"Data pertaining to the effects of orthotics on lower extremity injury suggest that orthotic interventions not only compensate for aberrant foot function, but act in a manner that limits the mechanics associated with rupture of the ACL," the author states.
The article concludes that correct alignment and function in the foot and ankle are very important to proper landing mechanics and the prevention of injury, especially in female athletes who tend to be more prone to issues related to foot dysfunction.