Foot sprains are common after a traumatic event that results in stretching, tearing or rupturing of ligaments. Ligaments which are bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together that forms a joint. Foot sprains, depending on the severity, may leave a joint unstable. If the sprain is around a major weight bearing area, like the arch, great toe joint, ankle joint, or the midfoot there may be significant pain when attempting to bear weight.
Sprains vary in severity from mild, to moderate, to severe. Grade I — The injury is mild, resulting in micro tears or over stretching of the ligaments. Grade II- the injury is moderate, the stretching is more severe and the ligament may have a partial tear. Grade III- The injury is severe and ligament(s) are fully torn potentially causing instability and inability to bear weight. This injury can also be accompanied by bone fracture or open wounds.
The foot bears the body’s entire weight and sprains can occur from ordinary twist of the foot during a car accident, or from walking and stumbling or falling. Sprains can also occur from certain jobs that require physical labor, or playing sports such as: dancing, diving, football, horseback riding, skiing. In all of these scenarios- if feet are subjected to abnormal twisting motion or bends, then this will increase chances of foot sprains.
Midfoot, arch and great toe joints are the most common areas in the foot that are susceptible to sprains. One type of sprain of the midfoot is called a lisfranc’s injury and a sprain of the great toe joint is also known as turf toe. Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can range from mild to severe and can involve many other joints and bones in the midfoot. In it’s most severe form this injury may take many months to heal and can require surgery. Turf toe is usually caused by hyperextension or extreme backward bending of the big toe joint. The typical scenario involves either a football player or a ballet dancer who falls forward while the big toe is planted flat against the ground.
Symptoms of foot sprains can also vary from mild, moderate and severe. The foot can be swollen, tender, painful, bruised. In more severe sprains limping or inability to walk may be observed. Call the doctors at City Podiatry if experiencing these symptoms after a sprain, especially if pain prevents bearing weight or does not subside over a day or two. In most cases a full recovery can take a few weeks to several months.