Minor injuries of foot are common while walking, running or playing. But severe foot injury may result due to accidents, falls, day to day wear and tear or overuse of foot. It may also result due to sports, recreational, work related activities.
Types of Foot Injury
Acute Foot Injuries include the following:
- Injury to ligaments
- Injury to tendons
- Sprains (Injury to joints)
- Pulled muscles (strains)
Overuse injuries include the following:
- Retrocalcaneal bursitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
Symptoms of Foot Injury
- Injured foot looks odd, in strange or out of normal shape
- Broken skin over the site of injury
- Numbness, tingling, or pricking pins like feeling at the site of injury
- Pale, white or blue skin
- Colder than normal skin
- Inability to move the limb normally
- Weakness in the foot
- Inability to put weight on or straighten a hurt foot
- Foot feels unstable
- Severe pain in the foot
- Swelling at the site of injury
- Warmth and redness over the site of injury
Diagnosis of Foot Injury
To know the cause of foot injury, it requires thorough physical examination of the patient and the detailed history of the injury. In addition to this, following diagnostic tests are performed to confirm the cause of the pain and the treatment required:
- X-rays of the foot
- CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
- Bone scan
- Electromyography or EMG
- Blood test
Treatments for Foot Injury
Most of the foot injury cases can be resolved with rest, change in lifestyle or OTC (over-the-counter, no prescription required) painkillers. If these do not help, following treatment options may be required depending upon the cause and severity of the pain:
- Medication – If PTC painkillers do not help then a prescription of NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or codeine or hydrocodone (narcotics) or tricyclic antidepressants may be required for short periods under the close monitoring by the doctor.
- Physical Therapy (Physiotherapy) – This includes application of heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation and other muscle-relaxing techniques to alleviate pain.
- Splints for the foot – This is done to immobilize the foot to allow healing.
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – It involves delivery of small electric pulses into the body through electrodes that are placed on the skin. This encourages the body to produce endorphins, and may possibly block pain signals returning to the brain.
- Surgery - Surgery is rarely required for foot injury but may be the only option to give relief to the patient after all the conservative management methods fail.