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The Five Most Common Soft Tissue Injuries in the Foot and Ankle

Perhaps you are not familiar with the term "soft tissue injury". However, you probably know, perhaps all too well, the terms: sprain, strain, bruise, tendonitis or bursitis. 


These are all types of soft tissue injuries, which is an injury that involves damage to the muscles, tendons or ligaments. Because I am a Hewitt foot doctor, the soft tissue injuries I come across mainly occur in the foot and ankle. The most common types of soft tissues injuries that affect the foot and ankle are:


  • Sprain - A sprain is a tear of a ligament, ranging from partial to complete. This injury is caused by the overextension of a joint. The most common sprains our podiatrists see are ankle sprains.
  • Strain - A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is injured. Again, the damage can range from partial to complete. This injury is caused by an extreme or repeated twist or pull of a muscle. Chronic strains are an overuse injury in which repetitive motion affects the muscle or tendon.
  • Contusion- More commonly known as a bruise, a contusion is an injury that causes blood to pool under the skin. A contusion is caused by a blow or hit and can cause not only discoloration but swelling and pain as well.
  • Tendonitis- This inflammatory condition of a tendon is usually caused by overuse. When a tendon suffers many small stresses or injuries, it becomes swollen, affecting the tendon and/or the protective sheath that covers the tendon.   
  • Bursitis- Bursitis is the swelling and irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sack located between a bone and a muscle or tendon. During motion, a bursa allows the tendon to slide easily over the bone. When the bursa is damaged by overuse, it causes pain and discomfort.   


Any of these injuries have the potential to put you out of action for quite some time. It is crucial that you get a correct diagnosis and begin an effective treatment plan as soon as possible.


Diagnosing Soft Tissue Injuries

One of the best tools to diagnose foot and ankle pain caused by soft tissue damage is ultrasound. This technology is used to visualize the ligaments, muscles and tendons in real time. The doctor gets a clear view of the damage done to the soft tissue. When used by a skilled technician or experienced Hewitt foot specialist, the tool is invaluable in diagnosing the cause of your pain.  


At Highlander Foot & Ankle Center, our foot surgeons have the tools and experience to diagnose your injury and get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Call 973.595.8900 today to schedule an appointment with a Hewitt foot doctor who truly cares about you and your feet.