With 62 bones and literally hundreds of muscles in our lower limbs, injuries in that area are a common result of sport. We have a lot to cover in this blog, so without further ado, let’s jump right into some of the most common sporting injuries of the lower limbs.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries, and can occur as a result of many different sports. It is the inflammation of the Plantar fascia, the tissue that connects our heels to our toes, and occurs as a result of overuse, usually due to running or walking. Repeated stretching causes the tissue to tear, which results in painful inflammation that is worst when first getting up in the morning, or engaging in walking or running.
Anterior Ankle Impingement
More commonly known as footballer’s ankle, anterior ankle impingement is caused when bone spurs (protrusions along the bone edges) develop at the front of the ankle. This condition is commonly associated with football, as the kicking of the ball forces the ankle to its extremes. Over time, these spurs may rub against one another or the surrounding tissue, leading to pain and swelling.
Shin splints often occur in people who are pushing themselves too hard, particularly if they are running as fast as they can, or uphill. There are two main categories of shin splints: anterior and posterior.
Anterior splints occur at the front of the legs, where your tendons attach to your shin bones, and mainly results in a dull ache that worsens if not given sufficient rest. Posterior splints occur where the tendons attach to the inner areas of your shin bones, and thus cause pain that can be felt deep inside the leg, often running all the way down to your feet. Shin splints are often symptomatic of a stress fracture, especially when there is considerable swelling involved.
About one-third of all skiing injuries are tears to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the Medial Collateral Ligament, which are located at the front and side of the knee respectively. This is a common injury in skiers, especially new skiers, who make sharp turns too quickly.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is another common overuse injury, and occurs most commonly in runners. Responsible for helping us maintain balance, the iliotibial band runs from our hips to our knees, and can become inflamed when push themselves too hard to increase the amount of distance they cover.
Runner’s knee, also known as Chondromalacia Patella or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is a common overuse injury in runners and cyclists. It is a result of the cartilage underneath the kneecap being gradually worn down, which can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain at the front of the knee, but can be treated with a combination of rest and stretches.
The quad muscles are those located at the front of the thigh, and can become strained through overuse, failure to properly warm up before exercise, physical trauma, or even overstretching during a warmup. While some quad stains can result in severe pain, they usually result in a dull ache, and can be treated with a combination of rest and ice.
A stress fracture occurs when the outer layer of our bones are put under repeated stress, such as when our feet hit the ground during a run. The occur gradually, often as a result of too much exercise or footwear that is not shock-absorbant. Most stress fractures will result in a dull ache, and will require plenty of rest and calcium to heal properly.
Like the aforementioned Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis is the inflammation of one or more of your tendons. Tendonitis can occur in almost any of the body’s tendons, usually because it has been overworked. Repeated or excessive stretching of the tendon causes it to tear, which can result in swelling and a dull, achy pain. Rest and ice are the most effective ways to treat tendonitis, while stretching properly is the best way to prevent it.