Sports Injuries and the Sunflower Showdown
Kansas vs. Kansas State. It’s a rivalry as heated as Tesla vs. Edison. Capt. Ahab vs. Moby Dick! Coke vs. Pepsi?
In whatever light you see the clashes between our two big schools, the Sunflower Showdown is a spectacle that has lasted down through history. The rivalry on the football field began in 1902 and later spread to the basketball court in 1907.
The Nov. 10 football game at Kansas State will mark the 116th time the two teams have faced down! We have to wait until February until we see them tussle during the 2018-19 men’s basketball season.
If you think these two sports are the only ones in which the Sunflower Showdown matters, however, then you don’t know the strength of a good rivalry! Women’s basketball also has their own records, as does baseball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, rowing and track and field.
If you combine all the sports with usable win/loss records, Kansas currently leads in wins—although just how many wins each school has changes depending upon who you ask! Kansas says they have 592, but Kansas State says their rivals only have 574. K-State either has 471 wins (according to KU) or 472 wins (according to them).
No matter which side of a rivalry you play on—from a storied school rivalry to that yearly flag game with the neighboring YMCA—there is always something about it that ignites that fire to be your best. Strive a little harder; move a little quicker; push a little more…
But, if you’re not careful and not prepared, that extra enthusiasm can turn to extra time out of play with an injury!
Any annual rivalry is best met when both sides are at full strength. That way, one side can’t lean on the excuse that they could have won if they had a clean bill of health!
When it comes to your feet and ankles, which tend to be a hotspot for sports injuries, we have a few main pieces of advice on how to help yourself stay in the game. All much of it takes is a little forethought and consideration.
Warm Up Before You Go
Many sports injuries are the result of overuse. While this can sometimes mean that someone has spent too much time doing the same motions over and over, this can also be caused by moving or exerting yourself too quickly or intensely all at once.
Our bodies are not machines built to blast off from a cold start. No matter what level of performance you are at, it pays to take the time before every bout of physical activity to warm yourself up.
Warming up can involve a mix of static and dynamic stretching. “Static” moves involve the types of stretches where you tend to hold a position. The Achilles tendons are an important part to focus on, and can be stretched with heel raises, calf stretches, and sitting stretches (using a resistance band or towel looped around the front of the feet).
A static stretch should cause feeling in the area of focus, but do not extend yourself to the point of pain! Also don’t “bounce” on a stretch you are holding. Hold with controlled movement and release in the same manner.
“Dynamic” stretches have more consistent motion. They can be as easy as a few minutes of light jogging, adding some “buttkickers” if you want a bit more pep. If you have a history of heel pain, working the bottom of your feet with a foam roller can be particularly effective for you (and just plain feels good, otherwise).
The key is finding a warm-up routine that both properly warms you up and isn’t boring enough that you fail to do it. We’d be happy to help you put together a good plan that best focuses on any foot or ankle needs you may have.
Be Real About Your Strength and Conditioning
If you’re a college or professional athlete who has invested tons of hours into training and conditioning to perform certain actions well, you should have a very good indication of what you can and can’t do.
But let’s face it: many of us are not at that athletic level. We may spend more time in an office, occasionally hitting the gym and playing pick-up games on the weekends.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s much better to be getting out and active when you can instead of not at all! However, you need to be realistic about your limitations.
If you are not often physically active, pace yourself as you start. Trying to be the MVP of your pick-up game is going to increase your risk of ending up on injured reserve, otherwise.
If you plan on making a certain sport a regular weekend thing, try to invest some more time into conditioning and strengthening the appropriate areas for it (although we recommend foot and ankle strengthening for general life!).
Also, if you are conditioned well toward one sport, don’t take it to mean you’re good to push it from day one on any sport. You can find plenty of stories of pros who have hurt themselves outside their main games doing something else.
Take Care of Potential Problems Early
Stubbornness to stay in the game is a strong temptation. It’s easy to convince yourself that ache you’re feeling is just a temporary thing; that it will go away by the end of the week. …Next week. …The month…next month…
Problems such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis will very likely not go away on their own without proper treatment—especially if you keep trying to push hard with them!
If you feel pain during a game or other activity, stop. Pushing harder at this point is only asking for worse consequences.
If that pain persists and doesn’t improve after a few days—or the pain is severe, of course—it’s time to give Kansas Foot Center a call. We can not only treat causes of persistent pain and discomfort, but we can provide preventative care such as custom orthotics and improved shoe choices to help keep such injuries from coming back!
Our offices in Wichita and Newton can be reached by calling us a (866) 222-5177. We promise we will take you in regardless of your school allegiance.