Sports Injuries

Feet And Sports

With 26 bones, 33 joints, and 112 ligaments, the human foot is an intricate skeletal structure. The foot, in concert with the entire musculoskeletal system, is the launching pad for dynamic athletic movements that routinely generate forces that when absorbed by the foot, exceed four times or more the weight of the athlete.

Different sports may demand repetitive foot movements, such as the strike of the foot on the ground or the track while running. Other athletic endeavors involve sudden, explosive footwork, such as in soccer or football. Each type of foot mechanics creates distinct prospects for foot injury. Foot injuries that occur to the bones or ligaments most often result from misalignment of the structure.

Foot injuries may be placed within three general classifications: skin, toenail, orblister injuries. These injuries are not structural in nature, but are caused by an external agent. The most common examples of such injuries include athlete’s foot(tinea pedis), a fungal infection ingrown toenail, in which the nail cuticle grows into the surrounding skin, causing infection; and blisters, which result from excess movement inside poorly fitting socks or shoes.

Injuries caused by either overuse or as a result of a misalignment are similar in that only through significant activity do preexisting or under-lying structural problems usually reveal themselves. The significant overuse sports injuries that occur in the foot include a sprained metatarsalphalangeal (MTP) joint, plantar fasciitis, misaligned bones or tendons in the foot,bunions, neuroma, calcaneal bumps, and stress fractures.


Forefoot Injuries

  • Sweaty Feet
  • Dislocation
  • Turf toe
  • Stress fractures
  • Metatarsal fracture
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Inflammation of the extensor tendons of the toes
  • Bunions
  • Inflammation or rupture of peroneus brevis tendon.
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Lisfranc’s injury (fracture / dislocation)
  • Navicular Stress Fracture
  • Stress fracture of the talus

Sole of the foot

  • Plantar fascia strain
  • Pes cavus (claw foot)
  • Blisters
  • Inflammation of flexor tendons of the toes
  • Tibialis posterior tendinopathy

Heel Injuries

  • Plantar fasciitis (heel spur)
  • Bruised heel (Fat pad contusion)
  • Bursitis under the calcaneus bone
  • Calcaneal stress fracture
  • Achilles bursitis (Retrocalcaneal bursitis)
  • Medial calcaneal nerve entrapment

Ankle Injuries

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle pain
  • Sprained ankle


A stress fracture is a break in a bone of the foot that is most commonly caused by repetitive stress placed upon the structure, where the alignment of the bone to the rest of the skeleton of the foot is not symmetrical. Significant overtraining in running or high intensity training on a hard surface to which the athlete is not accustomed are common stress fracture mechanisms. A stress fracture will usually be revealed in an x-ray as a small crack, or fissure, on the bone surface. Foot stress fractures often occur in the second, third, or fourth metatarsals.

Given the relative size of the bones of the foot, a fracture resulting from a trauma is a regular, if not common, occurrence in sport. Such injuries include an object falling on the foot, such as might occur in a weight training accident, or an object forcefully colliding with the foot, such as a fast bowled cricket ball or a baseball. The calcaneus (heel bone) often is chipped when the Achilles tendon ruptures, pulling the base of the tendon away from the bone.