What You Need To Know About Disabling Foot Injuries

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Foot injuries are one of the most common reasons why people experience trouble with mobility. These can result from a variety of factors but in most cases, the injury is associated with overuse or occupational hazards.

Disabling Foot Injuries

While some injuries may only require rest and over-the-counter pain medications, others might need the help of occupational therapists to ease people back into performing daily activities and tasks with little to no discomfort. The use of mobility aids such as crutches and knee scooters for short-term and long-term recovery period is also recommended.

Fractures, sprains, and strains accounted for 22.3% of foot injury cases with 83% occurring in men. Foot injuries are relatively common even in women office workers. In fact, 75% of Americans suffer from various conditions related to their feet. Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60,000 cases of foot injuries cause people to miss work.

Most Common Disabling Foot Injuries

Your foot is actually an intricate structure that’s made up of 26 bones, 19 muscles, 33 joints, and 107 ligaments. An injury to any of these can easily limit your movements and may lead to discomfort and pain.

  • Plantar Fasciitis. This overuse injury is characterized by a stabbing heel pain that’s usually worse in the morning just after waking up. The pain eventually decreases as you move around. Aside from obesity, performing exercises that put so much tension on your heel and doing certain occupations that let you stand for prolonged periods are the common causes of plantar fasciitis.

  • Stress Fracture. This is commonly caused by doing repetitive activities like running and jumping. It can also happen when there is a drastic increase in the intensity of your exercise. Unlike plantar fasciitis, the pain worsens with activity and gets better with rest. There may also be some bruising, swelling, and tenderness present.

  • Sprain and Strain. A sprain occurs when the ligaments surrounding a joint is stretched or torn. If it affects the tendon or the muscle, the injury is called a strain. These injuries usually present with a limited range of motion, bruising, swelling, and pain that worsens when walking or performing any activity. In severe cases, it may be difficult to put weight on the injured area.

  • Achilles Tendinitis. This is another overuse injury which typically happens to runners who suddenly increase the mileage or duration of their runs. It is characterized by pain beneath your calf accompanied by stiffness. Climbing the stairs or prolonged running may worsen the ache. The treatment for this condition includes performing stretching and strengthening exercises, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and wearing orthotic devices.

  • Heel Spurs. A majority of heel spur cases have no symptoms. However, since it may also be associated with a soft tissue injury, you might experience a sharp pain as you take your first step in the morning or after prolonged sitting. Heel spurs are caused by several factors including obesity, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and running on hard surfaces.

How to Prevent Foot Injuries

A majority of foot injuries can be prevented by observing the following safety measures:

  1. Walk as often as you can. If you can ditch commuting on the way to work, that’s much better since walking is widely considered as one of the best exercises for your feet. An early morning walk can benefit your whole body as well.

  2. Wear shoes that fit snugly. Your shoes should neither be too tight nor too loose and have enough room for your toes to move. Make sure that they are adequately padded and cushioned to protect your feet from stress. Bear in mind that you can still sustain a foot injury just be wearing ill-fitting footwear.

  3. When shopping for shoes, do it in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. It is wise never to sacrifice comfort for the sake of fashion. If you feel uncomfortable walking around your shoes, wear something else.

  4. Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle as it can weaken your foot muscles. If you have to sit at your desk for eight hours, perform basic flexibility stretching exercises.


  1. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workout. If you came fresh from a sedentary lifestyle, start slow and build up your endurance and strength as you go along to avoid risking an injury.

  2. Women should avoid wearing high heels as much as possible. If it’s a part of a dress code, however, opt for shoes that have wider heels. Remember that wearing high heels can cause foot deformities as well as knee and back pain.

Most foot injury cases are preventable and can be relieved by taking pain medications and getting a good amount of rest. If foot pain persists, however, and continues to disrupt your daily activities, it’s best to consult a podiatrist.

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