Due to the complex structure and anatomy of the foot and ankle, injuries to this area are unfortunately quite common. This is especially true for young athletes in the midst of fall sports like cross country. Here are some of the most common ailments that can affect your feet and ankles:
Sprains occur when a ligament stretches or tears due to an unnatural twisting motion of the ankle joint. This type of injury can be caused by an awkward landing, a sudden twist or turn of the foot or ankle, or even an impact from another person. Symptoms include swelling, pain and tenderness around the joint, and bruising.
Fractures are broken bones that typically occur when there is a lot of force put on it, such as from a fall, direct impact, or a twist of the ankle. Symptoms include pain and swelling around the affected area, tenderness, and bruising.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. It is caused by overstretching or overuse of the tissue, often due to activities that involve running or standing for long periods of time. Symptoms include sharp pain in the heel and arch area when standing up after sitting or lying down, as well as pain with walking or running.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury affecting the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. This type of injury is usually caused by repetitive activities involving running or jumping, as well as tightness in the calf muscles. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon area that worsens with activity, swelling, and tenderness when pressing on it.
Prevention of Foot and Ankle Injuries
The best way to prevent foot and ankle injuries is to practice safe and proper form while engaging in any physical activity. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Warm up before exercising by doing a few light stretches of your feet and ankles for 5-10 minutes. This will help get the blood flowing and prepare your muscles for activity.
- Wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity you’re doing and provide good support for your feet. Avoid using worn-out shoes or those that are too tight.
- Take regular breaks from any exercise or activity that puts a lot of strain on the feet and ankles. This will help you avoid overuse injuries.
- Strengthen your feet and ankles by doing exercises such as calf raises, heel drops, and toe stretches.
Make sure to get plenty of rest and allow yourself time to recover after exercise or activity. Following these tips can help you prevent common foot and ankle injuries and ensure that your feet stay healthy and strong. If you are experiencing discomfort, or have recently had an acute injury to the foot, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Strasburger.