Athletes, from runners to ball players, put a great deal of wear and tear on their feet. They are no stranger to foot injuries. Athletes make up the largest group of patients seen by podiatrists at Dallas foot center, Metroplex Foot & Ankle.
Impact movements, side-to-side movements, running, jumping and repetitive use place athletes at an increased risk of foot injuries, no matter their sport. Here are four of the most common foot problems athletes face.
A twisted ankle can occur from any number of activities, including running, jumping, hiking, dancing or walking in high heels. Ankle sprains cause pain and stiffness, and may result in bruising and swelling. Most home remedies for ankle sprain treatment reduce the pain, bruising and swelling. Staying off the ankle and keeping it elevated above the heart, applying ice and wrapping it may be enough to allow the sprain to heal; however, in some cases, an ankle sprain isn’t a minor injury. When the ankle rolls in one direction and the foot turns in the opposite direction, ligaments on the outside or inside of the ankle can stretch and tear. In this case, the ankle sprain is best treated by a physician.
The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous ligament in the arch of the foot. This ligament attaches into the heel bone, fans out toward the ball of the foot and attaches into the base of the toes. It acts as a shock absorber while walking and stretches as the foot flattens. If this ligament is stretched excessively, it will become inflamed and begin to cause pain. In severe cases, the ligament can rupture, resulting in immediate intense pain and disabling you from putting any weight on the foot. Sports such as tennis, racquetball, and aerobics can cause extreme tension on the plantar fascia resulting in small tears or rupture of the ligament. Small tears in the plantar fascia can lead to the formation of firm nodules within the ligament called fibromas.
Athlete’s foot is the result of a fungal infection in the skin of the foot. Athlete’s foot is by far the most common fungal skin infection and can be acute or chronic. It is usually caused by dermatophytes, and the recurrent form is often associated with fungal-infected toenails. The acute form usually presents with a moist scaling between small blisters and/or fissures. When a blister breaks, the infection spreads, sometimes involving large areas of the foot. Draining or applying cool water compresses to the blisters may relieve the burning and itching that accompanies them. Athlete’s foot has also been known to occur in circular isolated lesions on the bottom or top of the foot. The skin breakdown from the fungal infection sometimes causes a secondary bacterial infection to take hold.
The Achilles tendon attaches the large calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. You can locate your Achilles tendon by feeling for a large cord-like structure attached to the back of your foot.
The Achilles tendon helps you balance your body while standing, pushing forward during walking or running, and springing upward during jumping. It is attached to muscles with greater mass and strength than all of the other muscles of the lower leg combined. As a result, the large amount of stress the muscles place on the Achilles tendon makes it prone to injury. Achilles tendinitis is the most common form of injury to the Achilles tendon. The injury generally occurs in people who are active in sporting activities. Basketball, tennis, running, football, soccer, volleyball, and other running and jumping sports are common activities that can lead to Achilles tendinitis.
If you experience any of these foot problems, contact the foot experts at your Dallas foot center, Metroplex Foot and Ankle.