Taking Care of Your Toes and Feet

Three injuries that can be treated by a sports podiatrist

Although sport is an excellent way of keeping fit, it can also occasionally result in injuries that require the intervention of a specialist. Here are some of the injuries that can be treated with sports podiatry.

Achilles tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is a cord structure that attaches the back of the foot to the calf muscles. This can very easily become inflamed during sporting activity due to the pressure that it undergoes, particularly if there has been a sudden increase in the activities. This results in severe pain, sometimes so severe that it is no longer possible to run or even walk.

If the injury has been found in its early stages, a sports podiatrist will treat it with heel lifts and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. They will probably recommend that the patient abstains from running and jumping until the tendon heals, and they will prescribe stretching exercises. If the tendon has torn or ruptured, the patient may have to wear a cast on the foot, but this should not be necessary in most cases.

Heel pain

There are several causes of heel pain, although they generally involve the tearing of the ligament in the foot called the plantar fascia. This stretches over the base of the foot and can be strained due to excessive flattening of the foot.

Depending on the exact diagnosis, a sports podiatrist will probably prescribe calf-stretching exercises, as tension in the calf muscles can limit the mobility of the foot and strain the plantar fascia. They will probably also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and arch supports. If these do not work, they may recommend cortisone injections and foot orthotics; in extreme cases, surgery may be required.

Stress fracture

Pain and swelling in the ball of the foot may be caused by a tiny break in the bones of the foot. The break can be so small, it may not even show up in an x-ray, and the patient may be unaware of when exactly the injury happened.

This is usually best treated by resting the foot, applying ice and raising the foot above the rest of the body. A podiatrist may also recommend a special shoe or cast to avoid putting pressure on the break for several weeks after the fracture.

Foot pain should never be ignored. See your sports podiatrist at the first sign of injury, and you'll be back on your feet as soon as possible.