18 Aug 5 Most Common Sports Injuries of the Foot and Ankle
Our feet and ankles are the most rigorously overworked parts of our body. Every step you take, each jump you make, while running or just standing, the feet and ankles absorb shock and propel our body forward. It is not uncommon to risk injury to either your foot or your ankle at some point in your life.
However, individuals that take part in sports activities that require a lot of running or jumping stand at a higher risk of developing foot and ankle injuries. Among the games that place a lot of strain on your feet include football, rugby, soccer, basketball and also dancing.
So what are these injuries? We have outlined the top five most common sports-related foot and ankle injuries for your convenience and knowledge.
- Achilles Tendinitis
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the entire body that connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. It continuously contracts in conjunction with the calf muscles and pulls the heel bone up to facilitate each step you take.
Eventually, repeated stretching and relaxing can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling which is familiar with musculoskeletal injuries. Achilles tendinitis is common with runners who significantly increase the time and intensity of their running.
- Ankle Sprains
Although not as critical as Achilles Tendinitis, ankle sprains can trigger immense pain which ultimately proves walking or standing too difficult. An ankle sprain is caused by the twisting of the foot into awkward angles which in turn causes damage to the foot ligaments.
Ankle sprains can either be inverted (foot twisting inwards) or everted (foot twisting outwards). The more recurrent of the two is the inversion ankle sprain although eversion ankle sprains are severe. Golfers experience ankle sprains often.
- Stress Fractures
There is a fine line of difference between a stress fracture and a normal fracture. Stress fractures are characterized by small fractures on the bone while normal fractures involve the breakage of the entire bone. The muscles in the feet are unable to absorb the repeated stress placed on them, channeling the force of each impact to the bones, leading to stress fractures
Sports activities that render repeated stress on the metatarsals include dancing, football, cricket and also tennis.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Another stress-related foot and ankle injury is plantar fasciitis. In this case, the plantar fascia, the ligament supporting the arc in our feet, absorbs too much stress. It eventually weakens, swells up and gets inflamed.
The great strain that the plantar fascia undergoes causes tears in the ligaments, resulting in crippling pain at the bottom of the heel. Running on hard surfaces can lead to plantar fasciitis. Competitive athletes with flat, or high-arched feet are at a higher risk of developing this injury.
- Heel Spur
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that lead to protrusions on the heel bone. Heel spurs are often painless and can go unnoticed. An overstretched plantar fascia can provoke the growth of a heel spur. When the membrane covering the heel bone is continuously torn, it can lead to the start of a heel spur.
Running on hard surfaces and wearing inappropriate footwear that lack arch support are some of the factors that can support the occurrence of heel spurs.
Most of the mentioned sport-related injuries can be managed through nonsurgical treatments. Heel stretching exercises, incorporation of orthotics and anti-inflammatory medication can work harmoniously to do away with most of these injuries.
If you are experiencing any of the injuries mentioned above, consult with a podiatrist near you immediately.