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Foot and Ankle Injuries: Essential Facts

Foot and ankle injuries are very common.

So common that everyone has most likely experienced one at one point in their lives or another.

The cause of foot and ankle injury are often attributed to two things—everyday wear and tear and overuse.

Even when extremely common, there are plenty of facts about foot and ankle injuries many people are not aware of.

For the uninitiated, below are some of the basic facts about food and ankle injuries not many people know about:

In children, a foot and ankle injury can often occur when engaging in sports, while playing, or during falls.

In general, majority of foot and ankle injuries happen when doing work or projects around the house, when engaged in work-related tasks, or while involved in sports or recreational activities.

Certain athletes like dancers, soccer players, gymnasts, and basketball players are more prone to foot and ankle injuries compared to others.

Injury risk for foot and ankle injuries is often higher when doing activities that entail jumping (i.e. soccer or football).

Older adults are more susceptible to foot and ankle injuries since they are more likely to already lose much in terms of muscle mass and bone strength because of their age. Vision and balance problems can also increase their risk significantly.

Minor foot and ankle injuries will often respond well to home remedies. However, acute injuries secondary to twisting, jamming, bending, falling, direct blows, and penetrating injuries may require immediate medical attention.

Some of the most common acute injuries include:

Puncture wounds

Sharp objects like nails, needles, ice picks, and knives can cause puncture wounds. It is easy for puncture wounds to get infected so seeking medical attention is recommended at all times.

Tendon injuries

When tendons rupture, it can result to discomfort and severe pain.

Dislocation

Can be a result of a bone moving out of place.

Pulled muscles or strains

Muscles of the foot and the ankle can become strained. In some cases, it may also rupture.

Treatment options for foot and ankle injuries vary and may include medicine, first aid measures (splint, brace, application of cast), special shoe (orthotic device), and physical therapy.

When too much stress is placed on the tissues or joints, overuse injuries can develop.

Some of the most common overuse injuries can include:

Plantar fasciitis

This condition occurs when the plantar fascia (the flat and broad ligament situated at the bottom of the foot) becomes inflamed.

Achilles tendinitis or tendinopathy (tendinosis)

This condition is characterized of the soft tissues that are found in and around the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (Achilles tendon).

Retrocalcaneal bursitis

This condition occurs when the bursa is inflamed. Its symptoms include swelling and tenderness. Pain can become very noticeable when wearing shoes or when doing physical activities.

If the following symptoms will manifest, seeking medical attention is recommended:

  • There is obvious deformity
  • The skin of the injury site is broken
  • Numbness and tingling is experienced
  • The affected area turns blue, pale, or white
  • Excruciating pain is experienced
  • The swelling and the pain does not disappear even after 2 days
  • Signs of infection are showing like redness, fever, warmth, swelling, and red streaks in the affected area.

The recommended treatment option for foot and ankle injuries will often depend on the following key factors:

  • Severity of the condition
  • Type of the injury
  • Location of the injury
  • When the injury occurred
  • Age
  • Overall health condition
  • Activities (work, hobbies, sports)

Prevention of foot and ankle injuries is way easier if the following tips are kept in mind:

  • Invest in a new pair of running shoes after 500 miles of wear or at least every 3 months.
  • Do exercises for heel pain and tightness. This is especially important for athletes.
  • Refrain from doing excessive sprinting.
  • Walk regularly to enhance circulation and flexibility.

For help and guidance on foot and ankle injuries, please check www.bjios.sg.

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