Injuries can be divided up into two camps – acute and chronic. Whereas acute injuries happen in a single, physically traumatic event, chronic injuries develop over time. We often label these chronic conditions as overuse injuries, and they can be related, caused by, and exacerbated by other overuse injuries.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia—a tough, fibrous band of tissue stretching from the heel bone to the toes—becomes irritated and inflamed. This connective tissue is an important structure in the foot. The plantar fascia helps to maintain the shape of the foot arch, and also stretch slightly when you walk to assist the entire foot in absorbing the physical forces that come with each step.
Absorbing all the physical forces can take a toll on the plantar fascia. Overuse aggravates the fascia and eventually causes inflammation. Biomechanical issues like flat feet and unusually high arches (cavus foot) can also place excessive stress on it. The tissue begins to swell, thicken, and become inflamed, all of which serves to cause pain in your heel.
Tendinitis is inflammation developed when the Achilles tendon is subjected to repetitive or intense strain from physical activity. More specifically, Achilles tendinitis arises when the tendon is subjected to sudden increases in workload or the calf muscles are tight (which causes extra pull on the Achilles).
This tendon is the strongest one in the body, but it does become weakened as we age. Accordingly, older people are considerably more susceptible to this overuse injury than those who are younger. Achilles tendinitis is also more prevalent among males than females.
Instead of fractures that happen as result of a single incident, stress fractures are hairline surface cracks that typically develop in response to cumulative forces that add up over time from high-impact activities. This will usually happen when the remodeling process is not given enough time to replace the resorbed cells and the tissue is not as strong as it otherwise would be.
Bones undergo a cycle of constant remodeling to more efficiently endure forces. The remodeling process entails resorbing old bone cells and then replacing them with new ones. An active lifestyle and proper nutrition can help to promote the remodeling process and provide the right nutrients to ensure strong, healthy tissue.
Generally speaking, a neuroma occurs in response to excessive pressure or irritation, or injury, to one of the nerves leading to your toes. When this happens, the nerve can become enlarged and cause the aforementioned symptoms. More specifically, the pressure can come from repeated stress, physical trauma, biomechanical deformities (cavus foot, flatfoot), and improper footwear.
In the lower body, the most common neuroma tends to be a Morton’s neuroma. This nerve enlargement develops between the third and fourth toes. It is sometimes called an intermetatarsal neuroma, on account of the fact it is located between the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot.
Since they take pressure away from the metatarsal bone, the sesamoids in the front of the foot face a great amount of pressure and stress on a regular basis. Feet are naturally equipped to handle a certain amount of force, but when it’s too much the sesamoids can become fractured or irritated. In these instances, the surrounding tendons often become inflamed as a result, and the condition is known as sesamoiditis. Much like with tendonitis, the injury has a progressive onset and can develop into chronic condition when not treated at an early stage.
Bursae are fluid-filled, jelly-like sacs that are strategically positioned around various joints to provide cushioning and keep friction at a minimum. Like any other tissue, though, they can become swollen, inflamed, and damaged in a painful condition known as bursitis. This is a common cause of heel pain, particularly in older adults. Symptoms typically include pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes even warmth in the affected area.
Treatment for Foot and Ankle Injuries in Troy, NY
Capital District Podiatry is proud to provide effective care and treatment for a wide assortment of foot and ankle conditions, including overuse injuries. For more information on any of these medical issues, or to have your questions answered, simply give us a call at (518) 273-0053 or request an appointment with either our Clifton Park or Troy, NY offices online today!