Understanding Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries
Injuries in the toes, feet, and ankles are common among all demographics, whether you are a professional athlete or lead a more inactive lifestyle. Daily, routine motions can create strain or increase the risk of injury, as can strenuous exercise, overuse, or particularly taxing physical activity.
Children are most likely to suffer foot-related injuries from outdoor recreational activities like sports, running, and jumping. Children are more likely to fall and accidentally injure themselves. Any bone breaks or damage should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible so that the injury does not affects the child’s growth plates. Older people are more likely to suffer foot-related injuries due to decreased muscle strength, weaker joints, and other physical wear and tear caused by aging.
Common Types of Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries
Sudden or Acute Injury
Sudden or acute injuries occur during accidents like falling or tripping, and include twisting, jamming, spraining, suffering a direct blow, or suffering a penetrating injury. Common types of acute foot-related injuries include:
- Ligament tears or sprains, including damage to joint ligaments, sprained ankles, or a tear in the Achilles tendon.
- Pulled muscles
- Bruises: Caused by blood breakage under the skin after suffering a blow, bruises are common in foot injuries, as gravity increases blood flow to the wounded area.
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Crushing injuries caused by extreme pressure that compresses the area and causes breakage and tearing.
Injury from Overuse
Injuries from overuse can occur if you have a job or lifestyle that calls for repetitive, strenuous motion. Regularly putting too much pressure on a certain part of the foot, ankle, or toes can also result in an injury from overuse. Common forms of these injuries include:
- Plantar fasciitis: An inflammation of the major flat ligament on the bottom of the foot that stretches from the bottoms of the heel to the base of the toes.
- Stress fracture: A hairline crack in the bone, normally caused by putting too much pressure on the feet.
- Achilles tendonitis: The deterioration of tissue and ligaments surrounding the Achilles tendon, which connects the foot to the calf muscle and control pedal movement.
- Metatarsalgia: Major pain in the front (or ball) of the foot, commonly caused by putting undue strain or pressure on the foot.
Treatment for common toe, foot, and ankle injuries varies depending on the type, location, and severity of the injury in question. Small injuries like bruises, pulled muscles, twists, or sprains can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, icing the injury, and resting. Injuries like broken bones, tendonitis, or plantar fasciitis can require casts, braces, physical therapy, or surgery in order to expedite recovery. Consult with your doctor to find out what method of treatment is best for your injury.