If you weren’t watching the basketball game Wednesday night between Duke and North Carolina, you missed one of the most bizarre causes of an injury that has ever been seen on television! Thirty seconds into the game, freshman Zion Williamson gets the ball and his shoe completely comes apart! His foot can be seen hanging out between two pieces of a broken shoe. Zion is expected to be the number one draft pick for the NBA this year. Since he was unable to continue playing on Wednesday, the top ranked Blue Devils lost to the eighth ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The official diagnosis of his injury was a knee sprain, but he is still undergoing testing and more definite news is expected to follow. Hopefully he will be healed in time to play in the highly anticipated NCAA tournament set to begin in mid March!

Playing any sport always comes with a risk of injury to the athlete. Thankfully, Zion’s injury to his knee is said to be mild and he is expected to recover. Injuries can happen in almost any circumstance and to almost any part of the body. Surprisingly, while it was the shoe on his foot that broke and caused the injury, the injury was not to the foot but to the knee! But foot and ankle injuries are fairly common among athletes. From the repeated pounding that runners’ feet receive on paved surfaces, to the side-to-side motion seen in court sports, athletes’ feet and ankles are prime candidates for injuries.Here are some of the common foot and ankle injuries that can occur and what symptoms to be watching out for:

Ankle Sprains  Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, which may result in excessive stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The severity of the sprain can impact the degree of damage as well as the type and duration of treatment. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising. If you suspect you may have an ankle sprain , it is imperative that you get evaluated and treated promptly by a foot and ankle surgeon . By seeking treatment, you will receive the proper rehabilitation for the specific injury to help it properly heal and regain strength. To prevent ankle sprains , try to maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the foot and ankle through exercising, stretching, and wearing well-fitted shoes.

Achilles Tendon Injuries – The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and can withstand forces of 1,000 pounds or more. It also is the most frequently ruptured tendon, usually as a result of a sports injury. A sudden increase of a repetitive activity, and high-impact sports, such as basketball, can lead to tears and even ruptures of the Achilles tendon . Symptoms include recurring pain along the tendon, morning tenderness above the tendon, sluggishness in your leg, swelling, and stiffness. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your foot and ankle surgeon for proper treatment.

Heel pain  Heel pain can be caused by stress fractures or nerve injuries, but is most often caused by plantar fasciitis . Plantar fasciitis can be a result from wearing shoes that are worn out or not designed for the sport you are participating in. Proper stretching of the Achilles tendon can help get rid of this pain, but continued pain should be checked out to rule out a fracture or other cause.

Morton’s Neuroma- Morton’s Neuroma can be caused by running, court sports, or any activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot. Symptoms may include a burning pain that radiates from the ball of the foot to the toes or numbness in the toes. Symptoms may start gradually and come and go during activity. Early treatment is important to stop the damage from becoming severe.

Stress fracture- This is an incomplete break in a bone often due to repetitive activity on a bone. Stress fractures can happen when beginning a new exercise program or after a period of taking a break from exercising. Symptoms include pain, bruising and redness. Follow the R.I.C.E protocol (rest, ice compression, and elevation) as soon as possible after the injury and contact your Podiatrist .

It is very important for anyone, especially athletes, to seek treatment for pain or injury to the foot or ankle. Playing through the pain can make simple problems more complex and can lengthen the time of your recovery. Dr. Kylin Kovac has extensive training in foot and ankle injuries. He can help determine the right treatment plan for you. In addition to well-known treatments for common foot or ankle problems, Dr. Kovac offers another alternative to help speed the healing process and get you back to the activities you love. MLS laser therapy is pain free and has a 90% success rate! It can help you get rid of pain the natural way! Contact Dr. Kovac to see if MLS laser therapy is right for you! You can also click here to learn more about how it works and the benefits or visit http://www.idahofootandanklecenter.com/mls-laser-pain-therapy .

Some content provided by The ACFAS, CBSSports.com, and NCAA.com.