Foot Pain in Sports

Due to the physical strain of sports, foot pain can be a real problem and consequence when it comes to such strenuous activity. This pain can occur in the heels, toes, arch, sole, or ankles. Although there are various causes, here are the most common ones and their corresponding symptoms and treatments.

Most Common Causes and Treatments

Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles are an injury sustained from twisting or rolling your ankle in an unnatural position. Doing this can cause a tear in your ligaments that hold ankle bones together. Sports are a major cause of sprained ankles due to excessive motion, which can lead to your ankle moving out of place in an awkward way. Signs of a sprained ankle include swelling, tenderness, bruising, and the inability to walk. Sprained ankles should always be evaluated by a doctor to determine severity and treatment. To prevent spraining an ankle, make sure your ankles are properly supported during physical activity and do warm-ups to prepare for your sport.

Bunions
Bunions are bony bumps that show up on the joints at the base of the big toe. The big toe pushes against the toe next to it, which causes the joint of your big toe to grow in size and stick out. Bunions cause discomfort and pain in your toe area and can restrict movement of the big toe. Swelling and bulging can also occur. Bunions can be caused from sports due to wearing narrow-toed shoes and/or stress on the foot. However, bunions can also be inherited as a natural defect, though they can become worsened when coincided with physical activity and restriction.

Fallen Arches
Fallen arches, or more commonly known as flat feet, are a major cause of foot pain. Fallen arches are when the tendons in your feet do not pull together properly, therefore causing no to little arch. Those who have fallen arches may experience sore feet that hurt after walking, swollen areas in the insides of the bottoms of the foot, and movement in the feet generally difficult. These symptoms can become more severe when participating in sports due to increased use of feet. Treatments to help fallen arches are icing the feet to reduce swelling, stretching exercises, physical therapy, shoe inserts, and in severe cases, consulting your doctor for further help.

Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are another common cause of foot pain in sports. They are small cracks in the bone caused by overuse and constant force. For example, running long distances or jumping repeatedly.

Therefore, those in sports are more susceptible to stress fractures, especially those in track and field or any sport that requires constant motion. Stress fractures may not be noticeable at first, but usually, worsen over time and the discomfort will then become apparent. Swelling and tenderness are the most common noticeable symptoms. To prevent stress fractures, make sure to wear proper footwear that support your feet and gradually build up to exercising. Using sudden constant force can be damaging to your feet and bones, so progress over time. Recovering from stress fractures usually requires a period of extended rest, and possibly crutches to take pressure off your feet.

General Prevention

There are various factors that can lead to foot pain during sports. One of the most common is ill-fitting shoes. Sports often require specialized shoes for the particular events. Shoes that do not fit properly can rub against the skin on your feet and cause swelling and blistering. Also, shoes that offer no arch support can also cause major discomfort, and shoes should also provide support for your ankles to avoid sprains.

It is also important to stretch and not immediately go into exercise. Without proper warm up, the muscles in your feet will not be prepared and can be easily damaged or torn. Build up the muscles in you feet by doing a specific exercise for them.

Lastly, keep your shoes and socks dry to avoid friction and fungal infections.

If you ever experience discomfort in your feet during sports, or even in general, make sure to consult your doctor.

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