If athletes increase their workout intensity suddenly or engage in repetitive activities without allowing time for rest and recovery, overuse injuries can occur. Overuse injuries can cause foot pain and often go away on their own, but consulting with a podiatrist can ensure your injury is properly treated before it becomes a more serious problem.
Common Types of Overuse Injuries
Any type of sport that puts repetitive stress on the foot and ankle can lead to an overuse injury. These types of injuries are common in football, basketball, baseball, and soccer players. Those who run frequently or participate in sports that require jumping are also susceptible to overuse injuries. Some overuse sports injuries include:
- Shin splints. Shin splints cause pain and tenderness in the front of your shin and are common with running or other strenuous activities.
- Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue that runs from the front of the foot to the heel becomes inflamed. This can lead to extreme pain in the heel of the foot and is common among runners. Pain from plantar fasciitis is often worse first thing in the morning when getting out of bed.
- Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body. It causes pain and stiffness toward the back of the heel and can radiate pain to the inner side of the heel as well.
- Stress fractures. Stress fractures are small cracks along the surface of a bone that result from repetitive stress on the foot. If stress fractures go untreated, they can lead to bigger breaks of the bone.
- Neuroma. A neuroma is swelling of nerve tissue that commonly occurs in the ball of the foot. It can cause pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, and a feeling that there is a stone in your shoe.
- Ankle sprain. An ankle sprain can occur when the ankle turns or twists in the wrong direction and causes instability.
- Ruptured tendon. A ruptured tendon can happen when there is fast and sudden movement that tears a tendon. This can be a partial tear or a complete tear.
Warning Signs and Prevention
It’s important never to ignore foot pain. It can indicate that there is a problem. There are several signs that can indicate you have an overuse foot injury, including:
- Foot pain and stiffness
- Redness or warmth
Most overuse injuries can be prevented by properly warming up before engaging in an activity and knowing signs that your body needs to rest. The following tips can help prevent overuse sports injuries:
- Always warm up and cool down after working out or doing sports
- Give your body time to recover between workouts
- Include cross-training in your routine
- Gradually increase your workouts and intensity
- Listen to your body, and rest when you need it or begin to feel pain
- Wear shoes that fit properly, and use custom orthotics to provide additional support to your feet
Time to See a Podiatrist
If you have pain in your foot that is interfering with your sports training or daily activities, it is time to see a podiatrist. Stress and overuse can cause foot pain and other problems, so seeking treatment early for an injury can help prevent a condition from getting worse or causing other complications.
A podiatrist who is familiar with sports injuries can diagnose an overuse injury with a physical exam. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options can be discussed depending on the type and severity of the injury. Many overuse injuries can be treated conservatively at home with rest, ice, over-the-counter medication, and physical therapy. In addition, MLS laser therapy can be used as an option to treat foot pain and overuse injuries. For pain that is persistent or injuries that are more severe, surgery may be needed.
If you are experiencing foot pain due to an overuse injury, contact Capital Podiatry Associates for an evaluation. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online contact form, or call our office today.