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27th February 2023

The 10 Most Common Foot Injuries and Usual Symptoms

Dr. Jill Barat, PharmD
The 10 Most Common Foot Injuries and Usual Symptoms

1. Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle can occur when the ankle moves, twists, or bends in an awkward way that causes the ligaments holding the ankle in place to stretch or tear.

Sprained ankle symptoms may include: 

Pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, Popping sensation or sound, limited range of motion, or ankle instability.

Depending on the severity of the sprain, you may need medical treatment, or it may be recommended to just rest the affected ankle and use OTC pain medications or topical creams to help reduce the pain.

2. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are common in athletes, or anyone who is performing repetitive or intense athletics.

Stress fractures may be more common in those who have just significantly increased their exercise levels or are training for intense athletics like a marathon.

Over time this extra strain on the bones in the feet may cause small cracks in the bone.

Symptoms of stress fractures include:

Pain that gets worse with activity and better during rest, swelling, tenderness, potential bruising.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from your heel to the ball of your feet.

This tissue can become inflamed in runners, people who are putting too much pressure on their feet from increased weight, or from wearing shoes that do not fit properly or offer appropriate support.

The pain from plantar fasciitis is often felt in the heel area, and is commonly worse in the mornings, or after being on your feet for a prolonged period of time.

4. Bunions

Bunions are a slow-developing foot deformity where the big toe turns inward towards the other toes and there is a bony protrusion sticking out of the side of the foot.

This happens most often in women, and can occur over a long period of time by wearing shoes that do not fit properly or are too tight at the toe.

Once Bunions develop they may make walking or standing painful due to the changed bone structure of the feet.

5. Achilles Tear/Tendonitis

An Achilles tendon tear or tendonitis can occur when there is strain, inflammation, or a tear of this important ligament that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone.

This commonly occurs in runners who have just increased their training, or in middle-aged people participating in weekend sports.

The most common symptoms are:

Pain in the lower calf or above the heel after activity, or morning stiffness/tenderness.

6. Acute Injuries/Puncture Wounds

Acute injuries or puncture wounds are also a common foot injury.

Dropping something on your foot, or stepping on a nail may be a common way that feet can become injured.

Depending on the severity of the injury and if the skin has been punctured, you may be able to treat injuries at home, or may need to see a doctor to ensure that the injury heals correctly.

In the case of puncture wounds, treatment may be necessary to properly clean out the wound and antibiotics may be needed to prevent infection.

7. Bursitis

Bursitis can occur in your ankle when the fluid-filled pouch which is meant to cushion the joints is inflamed or bulges out of place.

Bursitis in the ankle can occur with overuse, strenuous exercise, ill-fitting shoes, ankle injuries, bacterial infections, or other conditions such as arthritis or gout.

The most common symptoms of Bursitis in your ankle include:

Ankle pain or tenderness, limping, decreased movement, stiffness, or red, warm, and swollen areas near your ankle or heel.

8. Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a painful inflammation normally felt at the ball of your feet.

This pain can occur with excessive running or jumping, ill-fitting shoes, or foot deformities.

The most common symptoms of metatarsalgia include: 

Sharp, aching, or burning pain in the ball of your foot, pain that worsens when using your feet and gets better when resting, shooting pain, numbness, or tingling in your toes, sensation of having a pebble or something in your shoe.

Generally, this can be managed with at-home measures such as rest, ice, elevation, and OTC pain medications and anti-inflammatories.

9. Turf Toe

When the ligaments on the big toe are sprained or stretched, you can experience a foot injury called turf toe.

Turf toe happens commonly in athletes and during sports which involve running on a turf.

This injury generally occurs when the big toe is hyperextended upward toward the rest of the foot, which can occur when pushing off of your toes to run, or when being tackled.

The most common symptoms of turf toe include: 

Pain, swelling, and limited movement in the big toe. Sometimes a pop may be felt or heard during the injury. It is possible that the pain gets worse after the original injury.

10. Heel Spurs

Heel spurs occur when there is a calcium deposit on the underneath of the heel.

These spurs can protrude as far as ½ inch out from the bone and cause pain when walking or using your feet.

Heel spurs can occur more often in athletes, or in people who engage in lots of running or jumping movements.

Symptoms of heel spurs include:

Pain and inflammation on the heel, pain that is worse in the morning and dulls throughout the day, some may experience a sensation of a pin or knife sticking into the bottom of their feet when first standing up in the morning.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.