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The summer is when many people find the inspiration and motivation to get outside and get active. Warm weather helps increase energy and provides a mood boost, and from vacation adventures to walks around the neighborhood, there are so many opportunities to have fun and get moving. But increased activity means increased chances for injury, and foot injuries are very common around this time of year. Learning about these types of injuries is one of the best ways to prevent them, and there are five types of foot injury that are most likely to strike in the summer.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body (at around six inches long), and Achilles tendinitis occurs when this tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. There are two types of Achilles tendinitis: non-insertional Achilles tendinitis (which is when the fibers in the middle portion of the tendon tear and swell) and insertional Achilles tendinitis (which involves the attachment of the tendon to the heel bone). Irritation often stems from overuse, and the symptoms of this painful condition are an ache that steadily gets more severe, tenderness, and stiffness. This issue often pops up in the summer because of an increase in exercise or physical activity, so avoid overworking your body to the point of injury.
This problem, often related to exercise and overuse, can develop after physical activity. It is characterized by an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue along the inner edge of the shinbone (or tibia). This inflammation can occur due to a change in physical activity (such as a change in frequency, duration, or intensity) or due to the strain of repetitive activities on the foot. The main symptom of shin splints is pain and swelling along the border of the tibia, and this pain can be either sharp or dull. This issue runs rampant in the summer because it is often exercise-induced, and can occur when someone starts a more rigorous exercise routine after being cooped up inside all winter.
An ankle sprain can occur due to the stretching and tearing of the ligaments that support the ankle, and this type of injury occurs among people of all ages. A sprain can occur during a sporting event, or even while just taking a walk in your neighborhood. Ankle sprains are very common, and since they can result from strenuous activity, it makes sense that they are so often seen in the summer months. You may have an ankle sprain if you notice swelling, tenderness, bruising, pain, skin discoloration, or stiffness surrounding your ankle.
If you are experiencing heel pain, plantar fasciitis may be to blame. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia (the thick band of tissue that stretches across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes) becomes inflamed. This condition is common in runners, and can result from repetitive stretching and tearing of the tissue. In many cases, though, there is no obvious cause. Plantar fasciitis frequently occurs in the summer because of increased physical activity, but also because of the shoes people wear. When the weather gets warmer, many people switch from sneakers and boots to flip flops and sandals, which have much less structure and support and put more strain on the feet. A red flag symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot, that is worse in the morning or triggered by standing after a long period of sitting.
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones of the foot. They often occur due to repetitive force or overuse, but can also arise in bones that are already weakened by a pre-existing condition. These fractures are very common in the bones of the foot, and are frequently seen in athletes who play sports involving movement that constantly starts and stops. Since many people are motivated to start off their exercise routine strong in the summer, stress fractures often occur at this time of year. These small fractures might not cause much pain at first. They start off subtle, but the pain will worsen over time. You might notice tenderness and swelling in a specific area of the foot, as well as pain that worsens or returns during physical activity.
Treatment for Foot Injuries in Illinois
If you are experiencing any of these types of injuries, getting treatment sooner rather than later is essential. Injuries worsen over time, and if you seek help as soon as you notice a problem, you can prevent the injury and discomfort from getting worse. Dr. Anand Vora is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in disorders of the foot and ankle, as well as rehabilitation and education of patients involving how to recover from their injuries. With locations in both Libertyville and Chicago, the many services that Dr. Vora provides include treatment for foot and ankle fractures and sprains, chronic pain, arthritis, toe disorders, and much more. Foot injuries are extremely common in the summer, and if you have recently suffered one, contact Dr. Vora today to receive specialized care that will allow you to be active again in no time.