Maybe you were running and a squirrel came out of nowhere, forcing you to hurdle a rock, dodge a puddle, and eventually collide into a tree. Perhaps you were carrying a TV into the house when a bee flew up your shirt and you instinctively tried to get it out by flailing your arms, but forgot you were holding something heavy and the TV dropped on your foot.
We’ve heard all kinds of crazy stories about how foot and ankle injuries happen, but they all end the same way—with the question, “how long will it take to recover?” Of course the answer depends on the type and severity of the injury, but no matter what, physical therapy can definitely speed up the recovery process.
Here are some of the most common foot and ankle injuries:
Your Achilles is the largest tendon in your body and has the very important job of connecting your calf muscle to your heel. You use it every time you walk, run, step, jump, skip—you get the picture. So if you tear this crucial tendon, normal function pretty much comes to a halt.
Sprains can happen to anyone at any time doing anything! When your foot rolls, twists, or turns beyond what would be considered a normal motion, the ligaments stretch further than they should and can sometimes even tear.
The plantar fascia is what connects your toes to your heel bone. It’s designed to absorb stress, but sometimes we overdo it and put so much pressure on our feet that these tissues become damaged or tear. The result? Heel pain and stiffness, and possible development of bone spurs in the heel.
This is a deformity that occurs most often in the second, third and fourth toes. It is a result of poor foot structure, shoes that don’t fit, a muscle imbalance, or a combination of these factors. The condition is characterized by the toe’s middle joint being bent like the shaft and head of a hammer, thus the name. Left untreated, the toe will eventually lose all flexibility.
When nerve tissue becomes thickened because of irritation or excessive pressure, this is called Morton’s neuroma. Sometimes referred to as a benign tumor of the nerve, the condition can cause pain in the ball of the foot and toes, as well as numbness, or a burning sensation. It can also feel as though you are stepping on something, as if there is something foreign in your shoe.
A bunion is basically a painful bump on your big toe joint. It occurs when pressure and irritation on the joint causes it to become inflamed and swollen. The big toe starts to lean toward the other toes, forcing the joint to protrude even more, which in turn leads to further irritation. It’s a vicious cycle!
Foot drop can be a drag—literally! Also called drop foot, it is characterized by the inability to lift the front part of your foot, causing your toes to drag along the ground when you walk. This condition mainly stems from a weakening or paralysis of the foot muscles used to lift your foot.
Luckily, every one of these foot and ankle injuries—and their underlying problems—can be treated, and all benefit immensely from physical therapy. If you have recently injured your foot or ankle or are experiencing any problems, come see Dr. Jennifer Molner at Castle Pines Physical Therapy. Tell her the story of how it happened—she’ll love to hear it! Then she’ll get to work getting you back on your feet. Call (303) 805-5156 for an appointment today, or just stop by. We are located in Castle Pines, CO.
Photo Credit: Alexis via Pixabay.com