There are many different types of foot injuries. Below are the three most common foot injuries treated in a podiatry medical office.
More than 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle to be stretched or torn. If not properly treated, ankle sprains could develop into long-term problems.
More serious ankle sprains, particularly in competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair to tighten the ligaments.
During the past 30 years, doctors have noted an increase in the number and severity of broken ankles, due in part to an active, older population of “baby boomers,” according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The ankle has two joints, one on top of the other. A broken ankle can involve one or more bones, as well as injuring the surrounding connecting tissues or ligaments.
Any one of the three bones that make up the ankle joint could break as the result of a fall, an automobile accident or some other trauma to the ankle. A broken ankle may also cause damage to the ligaments. Because a severe sprain can often mask the symptoms of a broken ankle, every injury to the ankle should be examined.
Symptoms of a broken ankle include:
- Deformity, particularly if there is a dislocation as well as a fracture
- Immediate and severe pain
- Inability to put any weight on the injured foot
- Tender to the touch
Treatment options include a leg cast or brace if the fracture is stable. If the ligaments are also torn, or if the fracture created a loose fragment of bone that could irritate the joint, surgery may be required to “fix” the bones together so they will heal properly.
Nearly one-fourth of all the bones in your body are in your feet. A broken (fractured) bone in your forefoot or in one of your toes is often painful but rarely disabling. Most of the time, these injuries heal without operative treatment. Types of fractures include stress fractures and general bone fractures.
Stress fractures frequently occur in the bones of the forefoot extending from your toes to the middle of your foot. Stress fractures are like tiny cracks in the bone surface. They can occur with sudden increases in training (such as running or walking for longer distances or times), improper training techniques or changes in training surfaces.
Most other types of fractures extend through the bone. They may be stable, in which there is no shift in bone alignment, or displaced, in which the bone ends no longer line up properly. These fractures usually result from trauma, such as dropping a heavy object on your foot, or from a twisting injury. If the fractured bone does not break through the skin, it is called a closed fracture. Several types of fractures occur to the forefoot bone on the side of the little toe (fifth metatarsal).
An ankle-twisting injury may tear the tendon that attaches to this bone and pull a small piece of the bone away. A more serious injury in the same area is a Jones fracture, which occurs near the base of the bone and disrupting the blood supply to the bone. This injury may take longer to heal or require surgery. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.