What Is Foot and Ankle Trauma?
The feet and ankle are composed of a complicated network of bones, joints and muscles and tendons and ligaments. They provide balance and support to the body and keep it mobile. The constant pressure on the bones or soft tissues often causes trauma to the feet and ankle and results in pain and inflammation.
Causes of Ankle and Foot Trauma
Foot and ankle trauma can happen to anybody, even to someone who is fit and keeps themselves in shape. Some of the common causes for foot trauma include the following:
- Impact Injuries – Accidents, falls and injuries during the course of high impact sports.
- Medical Conditions – People with OA, arthritis and low bone density could suffer from brittle bones and frequent foot trauma.
- Overtraining in Sports – Sports people are prone to foot and ankle trauma, and it can be anything from simple strains to muscle and ligament tears caused by twisting or pulling movements.
- Age – As people grow older, their bones get weaker making them more susceptible to foot and ankle injuries.
- Obesity – When a person is overweight, there is extra stress and pressure on the bones of the feet and ankle, and a simple fall or twist could cause bones to break.
- Improper Footwear – Ill-fitting footwear can cause foot trauma.
Symptoms of a Foot Trauma
Some common symptoms of foot trauma include:
- Piercing pain in the foot
- Throbbing, continuous pain
- Pain that increases when active and lessens with rest
- Pain that gets worse over the course of the day
- Foot deformity
- Walking difficulty
- Funny gait
- Balance issues
- Difficulty in bearing weight
Five Common Foot and Ankle Injuries
Achilles Tendonitis or Tear
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the bone in the heel. This can suffer damage with overuse, causing pain and inflammation. It can also rupture because of sudden trauma, especially during high impact sports.
The ankle joint and bones are held together with ligaments and they prevent the feet from moving too far on either side. If the ligament is stretched beyond a point, it can cause a sprain. Sprains may be minor enough to be treated at home with rest but if they happen often, they could weaken the ankle.
Stress Fractures of the Foot
Stress fractures occur when pressure is applied on the weak points of the foot. They are common in people who have osteoporosis, and in the elderly who may have weaker and more brittle bones. Athletes who over exercise and train for sports that involve a lot of running like athletics, basketball, football, etc., are found to be more prone to stress fractures of the foot.
Fractures of the Ankle
An ankle fracture is usually due to some kind of traumatic injury or impact. The symptoms of mild ankle fracture are very similar to the symptoms of a severe ankle condition and as a result people do not consult a doctor immediately. But it is a serious injury and therefore, it is better to get it assessed either way, at once.
Plantar fasciitis affects the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. When it gets inflamed, it can cause heel pain. It can affect anyone but is more common in people who overuse the tendon, like runners and dancers.
Sometimes, foot trauma may be mild and can be treated with rest, OTC medication and RICE treatment. But if it doesn’t get better in a day or if the symptoms worsen, it is better to see a podiatrist and get professional help.