Top 5 Most Common Foot and Ankle Injuries to Look Out For
If you’re just getting back into exercising, you should always make sure to avoid injury. Foot and ankle injuries are common after long bouts of inactivity. Explore our list to help you identify the most common foot and ankle injuries, so you know when it’s time to seek treatment.
1. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries we see related to exercise. This happens when the foot twists, rolls, or turns beyond its range of motion. Running or hiking on uneven terrains, such as rocky ground, can also result in an ankle sprain.
You may experience pain and stiffness a few days after injury, but it will often heal on its own with rest. Icing your ankle can help reduce and swelling as well. However, high ankle sprains, which affect the ligaments just above the ankle, are more severe. These types of injuries may require advanced sprain treatments, like a brace or boot to keep the ankle straight while it heals.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain from an ankle sprain, it could be the result of an underlying condition. In these cases, you should see a sports medicine specialist right away.
2. Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a tendon located under the foot, stretching across the arch. It’s a thick band of tissue that extends from the inner edge of the heel to the toes.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the band becomes swollen or irritated, often from hitting the ground when running or jumping. Generally, you’ll notice pain on the inner edge of the heel, most often in the morning after long bouts of inactivity.
While there is no cure for this condition, you can treat it by staying off your feet as much as you can. Switching to shoes with good arch support can also help, so stay away from footwear like flip-flops or sandals.
3. Achilles Tendonitis or Tears
Your Achilles tendon connects your heel to your calf muscle. After repeat impacts with the ground, this tendon can swell, resulting in minor pain or discomfort. These injuries are most often caused by not stretching before a workout or having “flat feet” where your entire sole touches the ground when standing straight up. Pain associated with tendonitis is typically mild to moderate and will subside with plenty of rest.
Tears are much more severe and cause sudden, acute pain in the Achilles tendon. If you are experiencing this type of pain, you should seek a professional to determine the extent of the injury and create a rehabilitation plan with your sports medicine physician to get you back in top shape!
4. Turf Toe
Turf toe is a common injury associated with football players who play on artificial turf — but that doesn’t mean amateur athletes can’t suffer from this as well! It’s caused by the hyperextension of the toe, which results in pain, swelling, and limited movement.
As with most foot injuries, staying off your feet is best. If you’re experiencing severe pain and swelling, you should seek professional care as soon as possible. A doctor may recommend bracing your toe by taping it to an adjacent toe or placing your foot in a brace or boot.
5. Broken Metatarsal
A broken metatarsal (or broken toe) is a common injury that can affect just about anybody. However, people jumping back into sports after a long bout of inactivity are especially at risk since their form might not be what it used to be. Impacts, such as stubbing your toe against furniture, are the most common ways these injuries happen. High-impact activity from running or exercising can also cause tiny metatarsal stress fractures in the toe. Eventually, these stress fractures can lead to abnormalities in the foot, crooked toes, or osteoporosis.
Remember the old advice, “If you can walk on it, it’s not broken?” Well, that’s not true. Many athletes will ignore the pain of a broken toe and walk miles thinking their toe is just fine. When trying to identify a broken metatarsal, look for toes that appear crooked or misaligned or bruising and swelling the next morning.
If you experience sharp pain from an impact, you should contact a professional right away.
If you’re experiencing pain or a foot or ankle injury from exercise, NY Orthopedics offers multiple locations across New York and an office in New Jersey with top-level treatment to help you stay in peak condition. Schedule an appointment today!