but what do you do about foot injuries as an adult? Which are the most common, are you at risk and how do you treat them? Here are five common types of foot injuries and how to treat them.
1. Heel pain: commonly known as Plantar Fasciitis is caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia ligament due to too much physical activity such as running, walking or standing for a long time. As mentioned in a post on foot care tips for professional athletes, stretching is just as – if not more – important when exercising. Obesity and ageing also cause heel pain as well as wearing shoes without or with poor cushioning or support and walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Treatment for heel pain can take time but daily stretching of the lower leg and putting ice on it for about ten to twenty minutes will eventually bring some relief for the pain. Taking medication can also help relieve the pain, as well as changing your footwear and using soft insoles in your shoes. There are more treatments available but a podiatrist will advise on the best treatment depending on your diagnosis.
2. Ankle Sprain: It’s really easy to “twist” your ankle when you miss a step or slip on a wet floor, but if the ankle becomes swollen or painful afterwards then it’s a serious sprain and should be treated using the RICE method – Rest the ankle from activity until pain subsides; Ice the ankle for 20 minutes every few hours until the swelling subsides; Compression wraps, like an ACE bandage, will reduce swelling and you should wear one for the first few days; Elevate your ankle above your heart for a few hours per day to prevent swelling and bruising.
3. Bunions: A bunion is a large, uncomfortable and painful bump on the joint at the base of your big toe. They are usually formed as a result of wearing tight shoes, but arthritis and genetics are also causal factors. There really isn’t any aggressive treatment for bunions, especially if they’re not painful. It would help to wear more comfortable shoes, or get appropriate insoles to help give a more comfortable fit inside your shoes. Surgery will only be recommended if the bunions become severely painful and uncomfortable, but it is advisable to first consult your podiatrist for medical help and advice.
4. Stress Fracture: Just like the name, stress fractures are tiny “cracks” in the bone usually caused by putting “stress” on the legs and feet when running or excessing. This is why it is commonly seen among runners and athletes. Although it might not be as serious as a broken bone, it can be just as painful and usually leaves the affected area tender. It is important to rest the leg or foot when this happens, if not the pain can increase and become worse.
5. Achilles Tendinitis: If Achilles heel was a medical condition, it would be called Achilles Tendinitis. It is typically a mild ache that occurs in the achilles tendon which is a band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and it is caused by inflammation as a result of excessive running or suddenly increasing speed while running. Except for serious cases which will require the attention of a podiatrist and most likely surgery, achilles tendinitis can be treated at home with cold compression and rest.
There are several foot injuries and whichever one you experience, whether heel pain, ankle sprain, bunions, Stress Fracture or Achilles Tendinitis, the most important thing is to begin treatment as soon as they begin to occur.
Be objective about the pain, keep wounds covered, and wear properly fitted shoes. It is also good to do strengthening or and stretching exercises depending on what is needed as a treatment, only engage in light daily stretches and most importantly, if the injury persists and the initial treatment isn’t giving any considerable relief, make sure to see a podiatrist.