Common Foot and Ankle Injuries
The feet and ankle are comprised of many different bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and all of these take a beating as you walk, run, jump, and otherwise put weight on them. This sometimes leads to injuries, many of which people aren’t fully aware of. Read on to learn a few of the more common foot and ankle injuries you might suffer.
Plantar Fasciitis: Stinging Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent heel injury that results in stinging pains that stem from the heel. This happens when the plantar fascia, which goes from the toes to the heel, becomes irritated or swollen. It's more common in elderly adults, athletes of any age, and people who spend long periods on their feet. Those who have it experience the most severe pain after a period of rest.
The best way to address plantar fasciitis is to rest the plantar fascia, for the cause of swelling is usually overuse. If this fails to relieve symptoms, there is likely an underlying biomechanical cause that will require further workup by our trained physicians.
Achilles Tendonitis: Moderate Pain in the Back of the Ankle
The Achilles tendon runs along the back of the ankle, attaching the heel to the calf. Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition in which this tendon becomes swollen and irritated, usually from overuse.
Achilles tendonitis shouldn't be confused with a torn Achilles, which is a rupture in this tendon. The former is characterized by moderate pain along the tendon that develops over time, while the latter comes with more severe pain that sets in suddenly when the tendon tears.
Any case of tendonitis calls for resting the tendon. If you're able to stay off your feet so that the tendon can rest, the issue may resolve itself with time. Often, this requires immobilization and close follow-up with our trained physicians.
Stress Fracture: Pain That Develops with Activity
Stress fractures are hairline breaks that develop along the length of bones. They're caused by repeated impacts rather than one sudden and overwhelming blow, and they're more common in the feet, ankles, and legs since these body parts take repeated impacts than the upper body.
The primary symptom of a stress fracture is pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest. You may also have visible bruising and swelling depending on the location and severity of a fracture.
Stress fractures are common in high-impact sports, such as long-distance jogging (where the feet hit the ground repeatedly). They also can be caused by wearing old shoes that no longer have support or suddenly starting an activity without proper preparation.
Rest is an essential part of any stress fracture recovering, and the rest should include complete abstinence from any substantial impact to the afflicted area. If you have a stress fracture and don't rest, the fracture could become more severe.
In addition to rest, a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon may prescribe additional treatment for a stress fracture. They should see any potential fracture to determine precisely where the injury is and so they can recommend a treatment plan.
Turf Toe: Pain and Limited Motion in the Big Toe
Turf toe is an injury to the ligament that connects the big toe to the rest of the foot. The ligament becomes stretched when the big toe is hyperextended, and the resulting symptoms are pain, limited motion, and swelling in the big toe.
Turf toe is so named because it's common among football players. Other athletes who overextend their big toe can also experience the injury, though.
Turf toe also requires rest. In serious cases, a podiatrist may recommend immobilizing the toe so that it can be completely rested until recovery is complete.
If you've experienced any of these common foot and ankle injuries, schedule an appointment with East Village Foot and Angle Surgeons to have the injury assessed.