Ankle and Foot Injury Prevention

Foot and ankle musculoskeletal injuries can be easily prevented by following certain simple yet effective tips. Read to learn more about the causes and prevention of ankle and foot injuries.

Prevention and Causes

Foot and ankle strain Bandage

Foot and Ankle with Strain Bandage

Foot and ankle musculoskeletal injuries can be easily prevented by following certain simple yet effective tips. Read to learn more about the causes and prevention of ankle and foot injuries.

Often taken for granted, our feet and ankles are subjected to excessive strain and rigorous workout every day. As a result, they are also among the most frequently injured areas of the body. Musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and ankle are a major healthcare challenge not only because of their high prevalence, but also because of their substantial negative impact on the patient’s quality of life. From mild pain and restricted range of movement to complete disability, foot and ankle musculoskeletal injuries vary greatly in terms of the severity of signs and symptoms.

How common are Musculoskeletal Injuries of Ankle and Foot?

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Angelo Marino Jr. PA Personal injury, Class actions, and Consumer litigation practice

It is estimated that over 6 percent of the workplace injuries involve to the musculoskeletal system, of which, foot and ankle injuries account for nearly 10% of the total number of workplace injuries. The prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries of ankle and foot in athletes is even higher. A paper published in The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine reports that 25% of sports injuries involve the foot and ankle. These injuries account for 20 to 35 percent of the time lost to injury in running and jumping sports.

What are Some Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Ankle and Foot?

Musculoskeletal injuries of ankle and foot can vary from tendonitis, sprains and strains to stress fractures and complete fractures. Of these sprains and fractures are the most common ankle problems. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, while a fracture refers to a broken bone.

Here is a list of some common foot and ankle conditions.

  • Achilles Tendinopathy — This is a condition that causes inflammation of the Achilles tendon which joins the heel bone to calf muscles.
  • Acquired Flatfoot Deformity — Commonly known as flat foot, it is caused due to tendon injury caused by gradual wear and tear. The condition results in pain and deformity at the ankle or hind foot.
  • Ankle Fracture and Sprains — As the name implies, these involve the bones and ligaments of the ankle, causing pain and swelling.
  • Foot Fracture — Foot fractures are a common condition and they range in severity, with minor injuries responsive to rest and severe fractures requiring a surgery.
  • Bunion — Bunion is a deformity of the big toe. The symptoms of this condition are reversible upon wearing good, well-fitted footwear.

    Right Food Toes deformity due to wearing wrong shoe

    Right Foot Pain due to Hammertoe and Bunion

  • Hammertoe Deformity — Caused due to the use of poor-fitting shoes, hammertoe deformity causes one or more toes to bend at the middle joint, giving them a hammer-like look.
  • Plantar Fasciitis — Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is caused due to the swelling of a ligament that connects the heel bone to toes.

How to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries of Ankle and Foot?

Just like other musculoskeletal injuries, most foot and ankle musculoskeletal injuries are caused due to excessive wear and tear and consistent strain. However, some musculoskeletal injuries of ankle and foot may also occur due to trauma.

In addition to a sudden traumatic injury, there are a number of risk factors that may increase a person’s likelihood to develop ankle sprains, foot fractures, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Many of these risk factors are related to the lifestyle and therefore, they are modifiable, while there are others that are related to the age and gender of the patient, and therefore, cannot be prevented.

Here are a few risk factors that may lead to a musculoskeletal injury of the foot or ankle.

  • Poor Athletic Conditioning — Anyone who indulges herself/himself into rigorous exercises without prior athletic conditioning is at a greater risk of injury to the tendons, ligaments, and bones in the foot and ankle. Therefore, it is important to establish a routine of strengthening and stretching exercises before undertaking strenuous activities.
  • Carrying Excess Weight — Walking, running, or jumping while carrying excess weights leads to excessive strain on the joints and may cause damage or tearing of ligaments. In addition to this, overweight and obese individuals are also more likely to develop ankle sprains and other musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and ankle at some stage of their life.
  • Sports Participation — Activities that require rolling or twisting of foot, such as football, tennis, and
    Professional Basketball

    Professional Basketball

    basketball, may increase your vulnerability to various musculoskeletal injuries.

  • Use of Inadequate Footwear — Different activities that put strain on the foot and ankle require different types of footwear. For example, athletes, dancers, and cyclers require a special kind of footwear that has sufficient cushioning to absorb shock and pressure, as well as a unique design to prevent collapse during pedaling, dancing, or running.

How to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries of Ankle and Foot?

Foot and ankle injuries are common musculoskeletal conditions; however, they are preventable. Using the following preventive measures, one can reduce their risk of suffering a foot or ankle injury.

  • Condition Your Body for Physical Activity — Increase the intensity and duration of an exercise gradually. This is will help increase your muscles strength and mobility. Also, spend a couple of minutes warming up your muscles prior to any strenuous activity.
  • Choose Your Shoes Wisely — Many injuries and deformities of the ankle and toes can be prevented through use of the right shoes that are suited to your foot type and your athletic routine. Purchase shoes in the afternoon when your feet have swelled. Get the correct fit. If you wear heels, look for shoes that offer wider toe room and cushioned insoles. If you are an athlete, choose shoes that have been designed specifically for a particular sport.
  • Prevent Recurrence of an Injury — If you have experienced an ankle or foot injury before, use a supportive brace or tape to prevent its recurrence.

In addition to the preventive measures mentioned above, use the following tips offered by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

  • Inspect your feet regularly. Check for deformities, swelling, redness, and other abnormalities.
  • If you are experiencing persistent foot pain, consult a physician.
  • Avoid walking barefoot as this increases your risk of experiencing an injury or infection.
  • Do not wear the same shoes every day. Alternate shoes and wear the right shoes for specific activities.
  • Avoid positions that cause excessive pressure on a single foot or may result in twisting of the ankle.

Using the simple, easy tips, one can keep their feet protected from any kinds of injuries and perform their everyday tasks with complete ease and efficiency.

To know more about the causes and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries of ankle and foot, please email at lisa@injuryanprevention.com.