Five of the Most Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

Faith A. Schick, DPM February 15th, 2019

Read Through Our Summaries and Find out What’s Causing Your Foot or Ankle Pain

Foot and ankle issues bring millions of Americans into their local podiatrist’s office each year. Complaining of pain, stiffness, swelling or various deformities, many of these patients are diagnosed and treated for minor foot conditions, such as bunions, corns, flat feet, athlete’s foot, warts, or ingrown nails. For more complex, musculoskeletal problems, patients should seek out the care of a qualified orthopaedic Foot and Ankle specialist.

For example, the five common foot and ankle injuries listed below are all best addressed by an orthopaedist. At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Mercerville, our team of Foot and Ankle specialists is made up of orthopaedic surgeons as well as muscular podiatry physicians. If you’re dealing with the symptoms of a foot or ankle issue, we welcome you to make an appointment to receive a proper diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

Five Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

Achilles Tendonitis or Tear
The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles connects the two primary calf muscles to the bone in the heel. The tendon runs lengthwise down the back of the ankle and it is particularly susceptible to inflammation because of overuse. This condition is called Achilles tendonitis and can be addressed with tendonitis ankle treatment.

Those suffering from Achilles tendonitis are also more prone to an Achilles tear or full rupture after repetitive inflammation and damage have been built up over time. However, this injury can also occur because of sudden trauma. If a patient hears a popping noise or sensation and experiences heel pain after landing a jump, the Achilles tendon may have ruptured. A Foot and Ankle specialist will be able to determine the nature and extent of the injury by conducting a physical examination or by ordering an MRI.

For more information on how and why this injury occurs, watch this helpful video from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Ankle Sprain
Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that provide stability and strength to joints by binding bones to other bones. In the ankle, ligaments keep the joint from moving too far from side to side. When a sprain occurs, one or more ligaments have been stretched or torn. High ankle sprains, among the most common foot and ankle injuries, impact the syndesmotic ligament, which runs from the knee down into the ankle.

While most sprains are minor and will heal with rest and ice, if swelling and pain persist, it is important to seek the help of a physician. In fact, moderate and severe sprains that are left untreated can weaken the ankle over time and even cause repeated sprains or lead to other ankle injuries. Ultimately, repeated ankle sprains can cause arthritis.

Stress Fractures of the Foot
The impact of excessive and repetitive force can cause microscopic damage to the bones in the foot. While acute fractures usually occur because of a particular traumatic injury, stress fractures are the result of repetitive impact, accumulating over time. When the bones and their supporting muscles do not have time to heal between exercise sessions, tiny cracks in the bones can occur.

Stress fractures also can occur when a person changes their usual physical activity. For example, a sudden increase of activity or a change in workout surface can both cause this type of injury.

These stress fractures most often are seen in:

  • 2nd or 3rd metatarsal

  • Base of the 5th metatarsal

  • Navicular

  • Sesamoid of the Big Toe

Fractures of the Ankle
Unlike the small stress fractures in that can develop in the feet, a fracture in one of the bones of the ankle is often the result of a traumatic injury or impact. An ankle fracture is a much different injury than an ankle sprain (although it is not uncommon for them to occur simultaneously), but sometimes patients confuse these two and wrongly self-diagnose.

Whether an ankle fracture is in one or multiple bones and whether it occurs with pain, swelling, bruising, deformity, blistering or other symptoms, it is a serious injury that requires care from an orthopaedic ankle specialist. If there is a bone protruding from the skin, the injury must be addressed immediately to reduce the risk of infection.

Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most common foot and ankle injuries in adults is Plantar Fasciitis. Nearly two million patients are treated for this problem each year. It occurs when the Fascia band of tissue in the arch of the foot becomes inflamed, causing sharp pain in the heel of the foot.

Most patients suffering from this condition complain of pain with the first few steps they take after waking up or after resting for a prolonged period of time. Once the band has time to stretch, the pain will often subside significantly but will continue to flare up again after each time that it is rested.

Some cases of Plantar Fasciitis can be resolved simply with rest, ice and stretching, while others will need to take anti-inflammatory medication and wear a heel pad before finding relief. If you’re suffering from this condition, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the most common orthopedic foot problems in adults. Find a specialist who can recommend the right treatment and get you on a path back to health!

Foot & Ankle Treatment in Mercerville

For additional information on other foot and ankle conditions, as well as advice on how to manage them and where to receive the best care, take a look through our other blogs on the topic of foot and ankle health. Use our online form to make an appointment with a Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Foot and Ankle specialist in Mercerville, or call us directly at 1-800-321-9999.

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