10 most common sports injuries of legs and feet

Because many sports involve running or extensive use of the legs, sports injuries can become common in the legs, feet and ankles. Knowing the symptoms and treatments for sports injuries in the lower extremities is vital for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

These are five of the most common sports injuries in the legs and feet:

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is a term describing multiple disorders of pain around the kneecap. It’s a common injury for athletes engaging in knee-bending activities like walking, jogging, running and biking.  The multiple causes of runners knee include overuse of the knee, misalignment of the bones and overpronation.

Signs & Symptoms of Runner’s Knee

  • Pain around kneecap
  • Pain when bending knee
  • Pain when walking or going up and down the stairs

Runner’s Knee Treatment

  • Rest the knee
  • Ice the knee
  • Elevate the knee when sitting or lying down
  • Use arch support inserts for shoes

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Commonly known as IT band syndrome, Iliotibial syndrome is one of the most common injuries amongst high-endurance runners. Pain occurs outside of the knee, and it is caused by the inflammation of the IT band, which runs along the outside of the thigh and stretches from the hip to the outside of the knee.  There are multiple causes of IT Band Syndrome including running with the wrong shoes, increasing running length too fast, and not stretching appropriately.

Signs & Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome

  • Pain on outside of knee or hip

Treatment for IT Band Syndrome

  • Rest the legs

Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are tiny fractures in your bone caused by overuse and the repetitive application of force. Stress fractures are often the result of a fast increase in the intensity of a new activity like running.  For runners, stress fractures usually occur in the shins and feet. To avoid stress fractures in your shin and foot, increase your workouts gradually to allow your get used to the new activity.

Signs & Symptoms of Stress Fracture

  • Swelling and pain
  • Continuous pain during rest
  • Tenderness on fracture area
  • Increasing pain in regular activities

Treatment for Stress Fracture

  • Ice the area and elevate leg or foot
  • Reduce activities of affected area, if possible
  • Wear protective footwear or brace
  • Surgery for more severe cases

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis (sometimes spelled tendonitis) is the inflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel. Inflammation occurs when the tendon endures great stress from activities like running and jumping. Running with tight calves may contribute to tendinitis in the Achilles tendon.

Signs & Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

  • Pain in the back of the heel
  • Tenderness in the back of the heel
  • Swelling of the heel

Treatment of Achilles Tendinitis

  • Rest; stop activity causing it
  • Ice area for up to 20 minutes

Ankle Sprain

A sprained ankle (also known as a twisted ankle) is an injury present in many sports and physical activities. An ankle sprain is usually the result of stretched or torn ligaments in your ankle caused by a rapid shifting movement with your foot planted, or when rolling your ankle and turning your feet to the opposite side. Trail runners have a high risk of getting injured due to the uneven terrain.

Signs & Symptoms of Ankle Sprains

  • Swollen ankle
  • A popping sound at moment of injury

Treatment for a Sprained Ankle

  • Rest and ice the ankle
  • Compress ankle with elastic bandage
  • Elevate ankle when sitting or lying down
  • Use ankle brace

To see Part 2 of this two-blog series, click here.

Further Treatment of Foot & Ankle Injuries

Although there are many home remedies for sports injuries of the legs, further treatment of these injuries may be necessary if the pain does not subside or the injury does not fully heel. Consult with a local podiatrist for additional treatment options. South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers is a podiatry clinic offering a variety of podiatric services to treat sports injuries and other foot and ankle disorders for patients in Palm Beach County and South Florida. Contact us via phone at 561-793-6170 or request an appointment online.