time or another, everyone has had a minor toe, foot, or ankle injury that
caused pain or swelling. Most of the time our body movements do not cause
problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and
tear, overuse, or an injury.
Toe, foot, or ankle injuries most
commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational
- Work-related tasks.
- Work or projects around
In children, most toe, foot, or ankle injuries occur during
sports or play or accidental falls. The risk for injury is higher in sports
with jumping, such as basketball, or sports with quick direction change, such
as soccer or football. Any bone injury near a joint may injure the
growth plate (physis) in a child and needs to be
Certain athletes, such as dancers, gymnasts, or soccer
or basketball players, have an increased risk of toe, foot, or ankle
Older adults are at higher risk for injuries and
fractures because they lose muscle mass and bone strength (osteopenia) as they age. They also have more problems
with vision and balance, which increases their risk for accidental
Most minor injuries will heal on their own, and home
treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your symptoms and promote
Sudden (acute) injury
An acute injury may occur from
a direct blow, a penetrating injury, or a fall, or from twisting, jerking,
jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Your pain may be sudden and severe.
Bruising and swelling may develop soon after your injury. Acute injuries
Bruises. After an ankle injury,
bruising may extend to your toes from the effects of gravity. See a picture of
a bruise (contusion) .
Puncture wounds . Sharp objects, such as nails, tacks, ice picks, knives, teeth, and needles, can all cause puncture wounds. Puncture wounds increase your risk for infection because they are hard to clean and they provide a warm, moist place for bacteria to grow. The bacteria Pseudomonas is a common cause of infections when a puncture wound occurs through the sole of an athletic shoe.
- Injuries to
ligaments that support your joints. See a picture of a
ligament tear .
- Injuries to
tendons, such as ruptured tendons in your heel (Achilles tendon). Young boys between 8 and 14 years
old may have a condition known as Sever's disease, which causes injury to the
growing bone where the Achilles tendon is attached. This usually occurs during
activity and is relieved with home treatment. See a picture of the
Achilles tendon .
- Injuries to your joints (sprains). If a
sprain does not appear to be healing, a condition known as
osteochondritis dissecans may be present, causing
persistent symptoms. See a picture of a
sprained ankle .
- Pulled muscles (strains).
Muscles of the foot and ankle can be strained and can also
- Broken bones (fractures),
such as a
- A bone moving out of place
- A crushing injury, which
can lead to