The foot and ankle are vital body parts as they carry our body weight and absorb all impact when jumping, walking, and running. Any injury on these body parts can have a major impact on everyday life. At Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, British Columbia, we have advanced expertise and equipment to treat foot and ankle injuries in patients of all ages.
13 Common Types of Foot and Ankle Injuries That Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Inside your foot are 26 bones, 33 joints, and numerous muscles, ligaments, and tendons that bear your weight and sustain you through your daily activities. Everyday wear and tear, overuse, and high-impact activities cause foot and ankle injuries. Common injuries that affect the foot and ankle include:
Neuroma, also known as a pinched nerve, mostly occurs between your third and fourth toes. It is a thickened nerve tissue that develops when the nerves between your toes are compressed by stress from high-heels and tight shoes. They can also develop as a result of a foot injury. Most often, icing, padding, and putting on shoes with sufficient toe space will relieve the itching, numbness, and pain that a neuroma brings.
2. Stress Fracture
Stress fracture injury often comes with a sudden increase in high-impact activities such as basketball, running, and walking for longer distances. It can also result from changes in your exercise surface and incorrect training methods. The repetitive activity causes muscle fatigue, transferring more pressure to the bones, which develop minute cracks or bruises. This injury mostly affects the long tea bones or the second and third metatarsals.
3. Plantar Fasciitis
If the first step out of bed or after sitting has you crying out in pain but recovers as you move around, then you likely have plantar fasciitis. This is a painful inflammation of the band tissues on your foot’s bottom, connecting your toes to your heels. Extra weight, high-impact activities, and walking on rough surfaces for an extended period put you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Regular foot and calf stretches can help strengthen your fascia tissue.
Often occurring due to chronic plantar fasciitis, heel spurs develop when calcium deposits accumulate at the bottom of your heel, where the fascia tissue connects to your heel bone. They do not bring pain themselves but rather trigger the fascia tissue causing pain along the heel and arch.
5. Bunion Deformities
A bunion is a bony prominence at your big toe base, which develops when the joint attaching it to your foot moves out of position. The big toe progressively moves outward towards the other toes. Bunions can be hereditary, though narrow and tight shoes are often the cause of this condition. It can cause severe pain if left untreated, limiting your movement.
6. Achilles Tendinitis
The Achilles tendon is a band of tissues connecting the calf and the heel bone at the back of your lower leg and is the largest tendon in the human body. When overworked, it grows thick, inflames, and causes pain and stiffness on the back of the heels, restricting your ability to walk. This injury is common in people who engage in high-impact sports such as football and running, although age can be a factor.
7. Ankle Sprain
Your ankle’s bones are held in place by ligaments, tissues that connect one bone to the other, holding the bones in place and guarding the joint against accidental movements like twisting. When the ankle sprains, ligaments stretch beyond their usual position, causing pain, tearing, and inability to move. It is one of the most common injuries, as approximately 25,000 individuals get an ankle sprain every day.
Severe sprains might require surgical reconstruction and therapy.
8. Talus Fracture
The Talus is a bone in the ankle that is essential for proper ankle movements. Often caused by an excessive impact such as a sudden fall, its fracture is painful and limits the ability to walk. It is best to have a Talus fracture examined and treated appropriately, as incorrect healing can result in chronic pain. Patients might have to undergo surgery for complete recovery from this fracture.
9. Turf Toe
Turf toe is a sprain of the ligaments in the big toe’s main joint and derives its name from football. This was after most players developed a similar injury with the introduction of artificial turf that is hard, unlike grass. The big toe hyperextends or bends back to a point where normal movement is impossible. Turf toe is painful and mostly results from an abrupt, high-impact movement. Your doctor might tape the injured toe to ease pressure on the joint.
10. Lisfranc Injury
This is damage to your lisfranc joint, which connects the midfoot and forefoot. It occurs due to ligament fractures. The middle region of the foot has several small bones that form an arch on the upper part. Among these bones are five metatarsals held in place by ligaments that extend across the foot. The first and second metatarsal lack a connective tissue, and a twist can shift them out of place.
Lisfranc injuries can be subtle or severe, affecting many midfoot bones and ligaments.
Sesamoids, unlike most bones connected at joints, are only attached to tendons or muscle. They are located at the bottom of the forefoot and act as pulleys, providing a smooth surface for tendons to slide. This enables tendons to transmit muscle forces more effectively. Activities like golf and running strain the sesamoids and can cause injury.
12. Ankle Fracture
Your ankle joint has three bones; the shinbone, the talus, and the outer bone (fibula). A broken ankle occurs when one or more of the bones fracture. The tissues connecting these bones might also be damaged during a fracture. An ankle fracture causes swelling and tenderness and might be mistaken for a sprain. In the case of a minor fracture, a physician can recommend treating with a cast. Severe fractures that create an unstable ankle require surgery.
A hammertoe deformity causes joints of the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes to bend downward instead of facing forward. It puts pressure on the toes when wearing shoes. They begin as minor deformities and get worse over time. Hammertoes are highly progressive and should be treated early. They can become rigid and unresponsive to nonsurgical remedies if left untreated.
The physician will discuss your symptoms with you and examine your foot and ankle. They will look for specific details such as sensory nerve behavior, circulation of blood, tenderness, and condition of bones. Other tests include:
An X-ray picture will indicate bone position and fractures. It can also show the joints alignment and where changes in the normal joint point to ligament injury.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan provides images of tendons and other soft tissues.
Computerized tomography (CT) scans provide cross-section specifics of the foot and are more detailed than X-rays. Surgical procedures may require a CT scan to help plan for surgery because they give information about the injury’s extent and pinpoints the affected joints.
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Since the foot and ankle have many bones, ligaments, and tendons, they are prone to a wide variety of injuries. Foot and ankle fractures and sprains can make it painful or troublesome to walk. They can also adversely affect your overall wellbeing. To receive treatment for foot and ankle injuries, contact us today Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, British Columbia.