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  • Writer's pictureFoot & Ankle Specialists of Az

Types Of Foot Conditions Seen In Athletes

Couple running during sunset.

While sports and exercise can often reduce your risk of injury and improve overall health, repeated movements over the years can cause strain and injury even if you do everything right. This extra wear and tear can cause common conditions like ankle sprains, neuromas, heel spurs, shin splints, and more. Sports like basketball, football, cycling, and dancing are all sports where foot injuries are more common.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are another common sports injury. Usually ankle sprains can be treated at home using the R.I.C.E method, but other times you may need a doctor if your sprain is not improving or the pain is worsening. It is important to talk to a medical professional as ankle sprains that are left untreated can become chronic pain and can interfere with your ability to have a full range of motion in your ankle.


Neuroma is described as a pinch, numbness or pain in or around the ball of your foot, but also as a type of pain in between your toes when you walk. Some people say the feeling is similar to rock in your shoe. A neuroma is a benign type of nerve growth that is usually seen in between the third and fourth toes and repeated stress, improper footwear, and certain foot types make people more prone to neuromas. They are more common in women then they are in men. You should seek treatment for neuromas, as they do not typically go away on their own.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures in your feet are small cracks in your bone caused by repeated overuse and long distance running/walking. If you have weakened bones already from a condition like osteoporosis, stress fractures can still occur with normal use. Stress fractures are seen usually in the lower weight bearing bones of the legs and feet. Track and field, football and basketball are sports where stress fractures are seen more frequently due to the demanding nature of the sports. You should contact a doctor if your pain is worsening or if there is pain when you are resting without weight on your feet.

Heel Spur

Heel spurs are sometimes painless growths on your heel bone, made from calcium deposits. Heel spurs happen when your plantar fascia and other muscles in your feet get strained from overuse. Slowly, calcium builds up on the bottom side of your heel bone and can sometimes cause pain. Most pain associated with heel spurs goes away on its own or with over the counter relief like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Other times, an injection can be given to reduce inflammation. Heel spurs can be avoided with proper fitting footwear, warmups and cool downs when you exercise. If you think you have a heel spur that is causing pain even after the at home treatments, contact a doctor to discuss the best options for you.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are common in the sports world. Caused by inflammation in the muscles and tendons around your tibia, they are seen usually after exercise and sudden changes in exercise routines. Shin splints can be avoided by wearing proper footwear and being mindful of your physical capabilities when it comes to exercise. Slowly build to your desired exercise level and don't be afraid to take breaks. Shin splints are usually healed with rest, ice, and compression. If your shin splints are not showing signs of recovery, contact your doctor to discuss how you can relieve your pain.

Sports are a great way to get some good exercise in and improve your skills! However, accidents happen and even if you are doing everything right, injuries can still occur. If you run into foot and ankle pain on the field, give us a call to help get you back up and running! Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona has over 5 locations, so wherever you are, we're there for you! Contact us today for local valley foot and ankle care you can trust.


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