Southlake doctor explaining overuse foot injuriesMost people understand the importance of exercise. Engaging in regular physical activity can control your weight, improve your mood, increase your energy, and strengthen your muscles and bones. Keeping fit and staying healthy has many positive benefits.

Still, too much of a good thing can sometimes have negative consequences. People who exercise too much, with too much intensity, or start an exercise program too quickly put themselves at risk of overuse injuries. One body part often affected by overuse injuries is the foot because it bears so much of your body weight.

Overuse injuries can develop quickly or over time, and how easily they resolve depends on how soon you recognize the issue and seek help from an experienced Southlake podiatrist from the Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists team. This article discusses the most common overuse foot injuries, how they are treated, and how they are prevented.  

Schedule a Free Consultation

Table of Contents:

Understanding Overuse Foot Injuries

An overuse injury develops when there is damage to ligaments, muscles, tendons, or bones due to repetitive stress without time for adequate recovery. Overuse injuries can occur in people who run consistently every day, in gymnasts, in someone who ramps up an activity program too quickly, or in anyone whose workouts put stress on a specific area of the body. There are other risk factors for overuse injuries, including:

  • If you’ve had a prior injury
  • If you have an insufficient level of conditioning
  • If you’re an adolescent
  • If your training schedule is overly heavy

Common Types of Overuse Foot Injuries 

If you’re a sports enthusiast, an athlete, or like to work out daily, you will likely suffer an overuse injury. There are many overuse injuries, but some are more common than others. 

  • Shin Splints. A shin splint develops when there is stress on your shinbone, and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to your bones become inflamed. Repetitive stress on the shinbones can cause this painful condition that is often treated with ice, pain management, and rest. Shin splints can become stress fractures, so it’s important to rest while they heal.
  • Stress Fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force. A stress fracture can develop when the muscle is fatigued and unable to absorb the shock of this force. Runners and athletes who jump up and down are at a higher risk of a stress fracture due to overuse.
  • Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis develops when the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. One primary symptom is intense, sharp pain near the heel that often worsens in the morning. This overuse injury can be treated with rest, ice, and stretching, but you must see a podiatrist to diagnose it correctly. 
  • Tendinitis. Tendinitis develops when the tendons that attach muscle to bone become inflamed. This overuse injury causes tenderness and pain outside the joint. It can be treated with bandaging, bracing, and rest. 

contact our Southlake podiatrist for foot pain

Ways to Prevent These Types of Injuries From Occurring

The best way to treat an overuse foot injury is to avoid it in the first place. Taking just a few minutes to learn about overuse foot injury prevention can save you a lot of pain, time, money, and enjoyment. 

Rest and Recover

The number one thing you can do to prevent overuse foot injuries takes very little effort. All you need to do is rest and relax regularly after exerting yourself. This is especially important if you are new to exercising or engaging in a new sport. 

Build Up Your Tolerance

Your body does not like sudden change. Injuries can happen if you jump into an activity too quickly and don’t ramp up your exercise slowly (a good rule of thumb is to up your training by 10% at a time). And they can be much harder to fix once they develop. 

Warm-up and Cool-Down

Stretching and warming up your muscles and cooling down your body slowly after a workout or game is important for reducing overuse injuries, and both only take about five minutes each. 

Try Cross-Training

Overuse injuries are often associated with repetitive movements such as running, playing tennis, or doing gymnastics. Cross-training can help strengthen your body and make it more difficult for overuse injuries. 

Check-in With Your Body

Some minor discomfort is normal when you get better at a physical activity. But if you consistently feel foot or ankle pain before, during, or after a workout, talk to a podiatrist. Overuse injuries can go from minor to severe if you don’t listen to your body and take care of any problems that arise. 

One of the best things you can do is talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime, sport, or physical goal that could impact your health. At Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists, we are happy to meet with you before you dive into a new exercise routine or sport.

Warning Signs to Look Out For

Acute foot injuries are obvious: They usually result from a specific incident, such as a fall, that causes sudden pain. You may also hear a pop or a snap. Overuse foot injuries can be more subtle, and you may not notice them at first.

When to See a Foot Doctor in Southlake

  • Redness or swelling 
  • Bruising 
  • Pain or stiffness when you walk 
  • Pain that decreases when you are active 
  • Pain that gets worse during a workout 
  • Pain that increases when you’re not active 
  • Dull pain that follows you before and after workouts 
  • Pain that is getting worse over time instead of better 
  • Chronic foot pain

Common Treatment Options Available in DFW

It is important to catch overuse foot injuries early so they’re more easily diagnosed and can be treated with simpler solutions, such as rest and ice.

When overuse injuries are not caught early, treatment can be more complicated and involved, and they may take longer to heal. A person with a serious foot overuse injury may be treated with pain medication, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and even surgery

Our Southlake Podiatrist Can Help

If you are experiencing pain you think may be from overuse, it’s vital to see a  Southlake podiatrist and get a diagnosis before things become worse and recovery becomes longer or more difficult. No one should have painful feet and be prevented from a healthy and active lifestyle because of foot pain.

Schedule a Free Consultation

At Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists, we’re here to help. Click the button above to request an appointment with our experienced Southlake foot doctor. For immediate assistance, call our office at 817-481-4000 now!