Given how much wear and tear lower limbs take even in an average day, it should be no surprise that ankle and foot injuries are relatively common. Knowing some of the most frequently occurring problems can help you to recognize conditions sooner and and follow the appropriate course of action. Obviously, you’ll want to get checked out by the local podiatrist in order to confirm any problem and get treatment, but here are some common foot and ankle injury symptoms to look out for:
- Ankle Strains and Sprains
An ankle strain occurs when the muscles or tendons in the ankle are damaged; an ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle are damaged. Both are often caused by a sharp twisting motion such as when you step in a hole or come down on your foot wrong from a jump. Ankle strains and sprains are often confused for one another, since they have very similar symptoms. You’re likely to experience swelling, pain, redness or bruising, and reduced mobility. Treatment often involves anti-inflammatory medication, ice, elevation, compression and rest.
- Ankle Fractures
Ankle fractures are any type of breaks in the ankle bones. There are many ankle fracture types, and not all will be immediately recognizable as breaks; you might mistake a break for a bad sprain, which is why it’s important to go to the doctor and have an x-ray taken. Some types of fractures require surgery, while others simply need to be immobilized during the healing process.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Among ankle and foot injuries caused by overuse, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain. It usually presents as sharp pain in the heel. Many people notice it when they first step out of bed in the morning, and feel that the pain lessens over the course of the day. This condition is caused by irritation of the plantar fascia, an important tissue on the bottom of the foot.
- Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. They are very likely to occur in the weight-bearing bones of the feet, particularly in athletes who participate in track and field or play a stop-and-start sport like tennis or basketball. If you experience foot pain or swelling when you participate in a high-intensity activity but you do not see any discoloration, then you may have a stress fracture.
- Ingrown Toenails
This condition should be easier to recognize than the others, since it is visible above the skin. An ingrown toenail occurs when a corner of the big toenail grows into the tissue of the toe. The first sign is generally irritation and redness at the site, but some people don’t notice the problem until it has become infected and started to drain a yellow liquid. Ingrown toenails can be treated at home if addressed immediately, but you should see a podiatrist if the condition doesn’t improve in a few days.
What other ankle and foot injuries would you like to know more about? Ask questions or discuss in the comments.