In many sports, the foot absorbs tremendous shearing and loading forces, sometimes reaching more than 20 times the person’s body weight. Injuries are part of the game with any sport, with some injuries more common than others and some sports more injury-prone than others. Some common athletic foot injuries include ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and stress fractures.
One of the most common injuries is plantar fascitis. Characterized by pain in the bottom of the foot, plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, is one of the most common complaints seen by podiatrists today. The degenerative tearing of the tissue on the bottom of the heel hurts when weight is applied, and generally hurts with the first steps you take in the morning and after getting out of a chair during the day. There are many options for treatment, and conservative therapy works more than 80 percent of the time.
A stress fracture is an overuse injury to the bone and is caused by repeated physical activity in an abnormally shaped foot, abnormal muscle/tendon length or in abnormal bone biology. Sometimes it is from too much forced activity, which is found in athletic programs without adequate rest or improper shoe gear. The second metatarsal stress fracture is a very common injury in runners.
Unlike a stress fracture, an ankle sprain is by far the most common sports-related injury with approximately 25,000 occurring every day. Stretching and/or tearing of the ligaments around the ankle joints cause sprains. While you can accommodate for the ankle injury, activity levels are affected, especially cutting and twisting motions required for most sports. If treatment is not sought, ankle sprains can become a recurring injury.