Watch Your Step: Dangerous Activities for Your Feet and Ankles

| September 6, 2012

feet and ankle injuries Chances are, most of us will experience foot and ankle pain during our lives. There are activities that put some of us at more risk than others and can lead to a visit to the podiatrist or foot and ankle doctor. These activities include high-impact exercises and sports ranging from soccer and football to dance. Weight gain and jobs that put you on your feet for extended periods of time can also be contributing factors.

Read on to learn more and, if you are in need, remember to read through the DexKnows podiatrist listings to find a podiatrist in your community.

High-impact aerobic exercise and sports

High-impact exercises often lead to ankle sprains, a common type of ankle injury, and other types of ankle and foot pain.

The Mayo Clinic. Sprains are also common in sports that require rolling or twisting your foot. High-impact sports including football, hockey, gymnastics, ballet, tennis and soccer can also lead to foot and ankle fractures.

A study by Dr. Nancy Kadel of the University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine referred to common dance injuries, including flexor hallucis longus tendinitis, often referred to as dancer’s tendinitis. Female ballet dancers often suffer from it because their foot position puts extra pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joints. Podiatry Today stated that ankle sprains are also common with theatrical dance.

Occupational risks

The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, estimates that there are 120,000 job-related foot injuries reported each year. Many deal with the toes, including toe deformities and pinched nerves between the toes.

Arthritis, adult-acquired flat foot, and tarsal tunnel syndrome are among other risks. There is also plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. Job sites such as construction areas, where you are at risk of dropping something on your feet or falling, also put you at risk, the Mayo Clinic stated.

Weight gain

Being overweight can put excess pressure on the feet and ankles. James Mahony, an associate professor of podiatric surgery at Des Moines University in Iowa, told that even an extra 25 pounds can put you at risk. Potential problems include inflammation of the tendons and plantar fasciitis, as well as osteoarthritis. Another is gout, which can cause sharp pain in your big toe and other joints in the feet and ankles. Gout, according to the National Library of Medicine, is a painful form of arthritis that happens when uric acid builds up in the blood.


Weight gain related to pregnancy can cause feet and ankles to swell, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center stated. A study by the Marmara University Hospital in Turkey stated that pain can be caused by the increased pressure on the front of the foot while walking and standing during the last trimester of pregnancy. Hormonal changes and pressure placed on the veins can also lead to swelling, the Mayo Clinic stated.

Contact a podiatrist to learn more about these and other possible risk factors or to seek treatment. Don’t forget to check out DexKnows podiatrists to find one in your community.

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Category: Health & Fitness, Podiatrists

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Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.