Foot Injuries: Why Do They Happen?
There are 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments in each of your feet. So, as you can imagine, foot injuries are not uncommon. In fact, they happen every single day. It is estimated that we take an average of 5000-12000 steps each day and our feet are what handles the majority of the impact and carries our weight. Therefore, we must take extra concern when caring for them. You should immediately see your doctor or a podiatrist if you sustain any serious foot injuries or if a minor injury doesn’t go away or gets worse with time.
What Are Some Types of Foot Injuries?
There are many types of foot injuries that can occur. Some of these include:
- Broken bones, dislocations and sprains.
- Stress fractures – Occuring from longtime repeated stress on the feet.
- Contusions, bruising and infections.
- Bunions – These are hard painful bony deformities that form at the base of the big toe.
- Blisters, Corns and Calluses
- Turf Toe – When the big toe is jamed into the end of a shoe from a sudden stop.
- Other toe abnormalities such as claw toes or hammer toes.
- Bruised heel – Due to hard impact or repetitive pounding.
- Plantar fasciitis – Usually affects the heel where the plantar fascia attaches into the heel.
- Metatarsalgia – Pain and numbness and tingling in the ball of the foot and often the toes.
- Morton’s Neuroma – Pain and numbness and tingling in the forefoot between two of the metatarsal heads.
- Heel Spurs – Bony growth usually at the bottom front part of the heel, often where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – Associated with overpronation. Pressure is placed on the medial and lateral plantar nerves causing inflammation.
- Bursitis – This occurs when a bursa (a sack of fluid that helps tendons move smoothly over bones) becomes inflamed.
- Extensor tendonitis – Inflammation of the tendons which run along the top of the foot and function to straighten the toes or pull them upward.
- Achilles tendonitis – Inflammation and pain at the Achilles tendon or heel cord.
These are just a few of the most common, there are a lot more.
What Causes Foot Injuries?
A lot of foot injuries are caused simply by overuse. Your feet take a lot of pressure everyday and sometimes can’t handle the impact. Extra stress occurs if you have biomechanical problems with your feet such as flat feet or high arches. Overpronation or oversupination can compromise the structural integrity of your feet and make you more prone to foot injuries.
Poor fitting shoes are also a cause for many foot injuries, along with aging and being overweight.
Foot Injury Prevention
To avoid foot injuries, you must take care of your feet. Wear the correct footwear for the activity you are participating in. Make sure the shoe fits and is not applying extra pressure anywhere on your foot. Take a look at the soles of your shoes and note any wear patterns. If they are worn unevenly, do not continue to wear them as this can play a big part in foot injuries. Also, wear protective footwear when necessary. Make sure footwear is stable and not so soft it does nothing to control abnormal motion of your feet.
After foot injuries, doctors and other health care professionals will look at your feet to find an underlying problem. They often prescribe orthotics to help your biomechanical issues. Orthotics work to improve your gait while providing shock absorption and distributing your weight evenly throughout your foot.
A simple, non-medical prevention technique to avoid foot injuries is to turn on a light when you get up during the night. Many people fracture toes or break bones walking around in the dark.