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Football was started by a group of Princeton students who began playing a sport better known as "ballown". They first used their fist to advance the ball, followed by the use of their feet. The game than consisted of one goal which was to advance the pass the opposing team. American football today originated from rugby, an English game played with many similarities. Rugby has been an international sport since the 1820s. Today, football is one of the most played and most popular sports in America. As with other sports, football is often accompanied by sports injuries and pathologies associated with the foot and ankle.

Ankle Sprains
An ankle sprain is a twisting injury to the ankle that stretches or tears the ligaments that hold the ankle joint together and can eventually lead to instability and re-injury. The ligaments of the ankle joint protect the ankle from abnormal movements -- especially turning, twisting, and rolling of the foot. A ligament is an elastic structure. Ligaments usually stretch within their limits and then go back to their normal position. When a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal range, a sprain occurs. A severe sprain causes actual tearing of the elastic fibers. If there is severe in-turning of the foot relative to the ankle, the ligaments can tear. In this situation, you may lose your balance or even fall while trying to stand on that foot. When excessive force is applied to the ankle's soft tissue structures, you may even hear a "pop" with pain and swelling resulting.

Diagnosis: An ankle sprain should be diagnosed by a physician in a timely manner. Your doctor may order x-rays to make sure that no bones were broken at time of injury. If not bone is broken, your doctor may Grade your ankle sprain based on the amount of pain, swelling, and ankle joint range of motion test during the physical examination which may be painful. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan may be ordered by the doctor they suspects a very severe injury to the ligaments, injury to the ankle joint surface or injury to the muscle tendon passing along the ankle joint.

Treatment: Treatment of a stable ankle sprain (meaning there is no fracture or significant instability) is the PRICE method.

Protection: the ankle joint should be avidly protected from further motion. This can be maintained with use of a air cast boot or a simple ankle brace which can come in different forms depending on severity of ankle joint sprain. Rest: the first 24-28 hours after the injury is considered critical and activities need to be halted. You should use crutches until you can walk without limping. Icing: place plastic bag with ice on the ankle for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times a day for the first 24-72 hours. Leave the ice off at least 1 1/2 hours between applications.

Compression: wrap an elastic bandage from the toes to mid calf, using even pressure. Wear this until swelling decreases. The wrap should be loosened if toes start to turn blue or feel cold. Elevation: keep your ankle sprain higher than your heart as often as possible. Elevate at night with use of pillows or books under the foot of your mattress.

Restoring Normal Ankle Function: This should occur after a week of "PRICE" to the ankle. Normal ankle function should improve in a period of two weeks with use of 1) range of motion exercises 2) flexibility exercises and 3) strengthening exercises. Following the restoration phase of normal ankle motion, the athlete should gradually return to activities that do not require turning/twisting of the ankle joint and thus doing maintenance exercises. This can then be eventually followed by "cutting" exercises as often seen during football practices or games.

1) Continue daily calf and heel stretching especially after activity
2) Continue ankle strengthening 3-4 days per week
3) Wear an ankle brace during strenuous activities which can help with balance and prevent re-injury

Sinus Tarsi Syndrome
Sinus tarsi syndrome is a condition of the foot that is centered to the sinus tarsi area, the joint below the ankle joint. Sinus tarsi syndrome can often be seen in athletes who have a history of inversion ankle sprain or injury or in athletes with pronated feet as seen with flatfooted individuals.

Diagnosis: An athlete with sinus tarsi syndrome may experience unrelenting and instability to the sinus tarsi area when on even surfaces (i.e. grass fields). Therefore, pain is often initiated when the foot turns inwards or outwards as also seen upon physical examination by your physician. Diagnosis can be acquired via certain imaging modalities such as x-rays, CT scan, and MRI,where an MRI will be a better imaging test for evaluation of the soft tissue to the sinus tarsi region.

Treatment: Treatment can be aggressively initiated conservatively with use of antiinflammatory medications, an ankle brace to limit motion and provide stability to area, and over the counter orthotics to provide a more rigid platform when weight bearing as needed for hyper mobile/flatfooted athletes. Moreover, cortisone injections and physical therapy can be further initiated to the sinus tarsi to alleviate pain and decrease the inflammatory process. As a last resort following aggressive conservative care, surgery maybe indicated.

Turf Toe
Turf toe is a condition at the base of the great toe, located at the ball of the affected foot. It is usually caused from either jamming the toe, or pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. The most common complaint of the great toe are symptoms of swelling and stiffness.