Feet and legs are built to carry us and sustain immense amounts of pressure, while commanding an equally immense amount of strength. Nearly all sports are built on the endurance and resilience of the foot – from track and field to tennis.
However, in the heat of sports and physical activity, it's easy to forget that at the end of the day, the foot is still just a collection of muscles, bones, and tendons – and like any part of the body, the foot is prone to serious damage and injuries due to overuse, misuse, or traumatic damage.
Given the nature of the foot's complex bone structure, an injured foot can be negative news – which is why finding a reliable doctor to help you diagnose your injury IS IMPORTANT. THE DOCTOR WILL HELP YOU prepare a sensible path to recovery by ensuring that you can continue to enjoy life with a healthy foot.
Before discussing the numerous ways a foot can be compromised, it is important to understand just how complex the foot is. Based solely on the amount of bones in the average adult human body, the feet can be considered as the most densely populated part of your skeletal system, with 26 bones in each foot – a total of 25 percent of all bones in the body. Alongside these, each foot has over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, and over 30 joints.
Every single step, jump, leap and twist gets all of these parts moving, flexing and relaxing, as the entirety of your weight is distributed across the foot. Lean to one side, and the pressure put on your leg and foot multiplies – lean on the other side, and the same thing happens there.
Foot injures can vary from minor to serious, from little sprains and strains to fractures. While some injuries can be treated through rest, ice, elevation and patience, every injury should be taken to the podiatrist – a doctor specializing in podiatric medicine and orthodontic injuries in the foot. But before heading over to get a consult, it's a good idea to grasp the severity of the situation by making a quick self-assessment of your injury.
As a general rule of toe, if your foot exhibits any of the following symptoms or signs, you should get yourself an appointment with us at New York Sports & Joints or your local podiatrist for an in-depth diagnosis and treatment plan:
Like any limb or joint, feet are prone to three types of injuries: sprains, strains and fractures. Sprains and strains involve overstretching due to a sudden jerky movement – think a fall, or an extraordinary exertion of force without any warm-up.
Sprains involve overstretched ligaments, while strains involve overstretched muscles and tendons. Tears are different – when a muscle, tendon or ligament tears, the injury is usually accompanied by a fracture.
Fractures generally happen for two reasons. The first is a sudden traumatic impact – a long fall can cause this, but a more common cause could be a bad kick, or a car backing up over your foot. These injuries require foot fracture repair, which can be non-invasive or invasive depending on the severity of the injury.
Fractures can also be caused by excessive exercise and abuse, especially among martial artists and dancers. These are called stress fractures, and begin as microfractures in the bone before becoming more serious injuries.
Professional dancers and fighters are also prone to developing bunions and hammertoes. A bunion is a painful swelling at the first joint of the big or little toe, while a hammertoe is an excessive bending in a toe joint for the same reasons: excessive stress. Here at New York Sports & Joints, we can perform hammertoe repair procedures and a bunionectomyto restore the natural shape of your foot and toes.
Here at New York Sports & Joints, we help you identify the cause and source of your foot pain, so we can determine the best course of action. While we do our best to avoid invasive procedures and minimize risk, we also have talented surgeons on-call to consult with you in the case of a serious injury. If your foot injury shows signs of worsening, don't hesitate to call us for a professional consultation.