Five Common Foot Injuries in Athletes

Five Common Foot Injuries in Athletes

by Gianina (SU)

Weekend warriors, elite athletes, and active people can be stopped in their tracks when something goes wrong with their feet. And it’s no wonder. With 33 joints, 26 bones, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, the human foot and ankle are vulnerable to any number of injuries and many more medical conditions.

Orthopedists and podiatrists see and treat a wide range of foot conditions and injuries. Five common injuries are:

1.     Metatarsal Stress Fractures

The metatarsal bones are located in the midfoot section and have a long, tube-like shape. A metatarsal fracture means one of the five metatarsals are cracked or fractured. This can be caused by trauma (sudden injury), or by repeated overuse and stress.

The conservative treatment is based on reducing the type of activity that may have caused the fracture, and by relieving pressure on the injured foot. The healing of metatarsal fractures may take from 3–12 weeks for full recovery. Usually, crutches and the use of a protective boot will reduce pressure on the metatarsals, allowing the healing process to progress.  

2.     Plantar Fasciitis

This common condition is distinguished by pain and swelling in the plant of the foot inhibits the ability to fully flex the foot due to pain and discomfort.  Plantar fasciitis characteristically is felt from the level of the heel to the start of the toes. Ironically, plantar fasciitis is worse in the morning, after a good night’s sleep when the foot has not been stretched for hours.  Usually, physical therapy, including exercises such as heel lifts and flexing each foot up towards the front of the leg, is recommended. Anti-inflammatory medications and deep icing are also effective to reduce swelling in the affected foot. To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis, never go barefoot and ensure your shoes are cushioned and provide good support. Wrapping the foot also provide comfort and relief.

3.     Turf Toe

Turf toe is the result of severe hyperextension of the big toe, also known as the metatarsophalangeal joint. This area, with its complicated name, is located between the central bones of the foot and the base of the toes. Physical therapy for this injury includes rest, ice on the injured foot, and the use of crutches for several weeks to keep pressure off the foot.

To relieve pain and allow you to return to activities, the toe can be strapped with tape to limit its flexing and overall movement.

4.     Morton’s Syndrome

Consists of the inflammation of a major nerve located between the metatarsal bones in the middle section of the foot that produces pain in the toes and causes difficulty in moving the toes and putting weight on them. Experts recommend physical therapy as the first line of treatment in the recovery from Morton’s Syndrome. Surgery for Morton’s Syndrome is a last resort used in the most severe cases.

5.     Sesamoiditis

Is an inflammation of the sesamoid bones located near the great toe, at the front “ball” of the foot. Sesamoid bones are bones embedded in a tendon and are found in several joints in the body. In the healthy foot, the sesamoids resemble two pea-shaped bones Sesamoid injuries can involve the bones, tendons and/or surrounding tissue in the joint. Rest, wearing protective padding your foot, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help.

When pain’s afoot, the friendly staff at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland welcomes your questions and concerns at (410) 644-1880. We have three convenient locations to serve you. To schedule an appointment with podiatrist Dr. Marc Lipton, please call our office or use our secure online appointment request form.