Foot and ankle injuries are common in sports, especially if you play tennis, soccer, or run long distances. If sports are an integral part of your everyday life, you’ll want to do what you can to avoid injury, which would prevent you from participating in the sports you love. Athletes and sports enthusiasts can decrease their risk of injury by taking precautions such as these:
Regardless of the level of physical activity you’re about to endure, warming up is a necessary step in injury prevention. Warming and stretching your muscles to prepare your bones and joints for increased performance will provide less of a shock to your feet and ankles. A warm-up should consist of up to 10 minutes of light jogging and stretching.
The last place to be cheap is on your feet, especially for athletes. Make sure you’re wearing quality athletic shoes with cushioned soles and strong arch support. You’ll want to buy a new pair of athletic shoes a few times a year. Padding in athletic shoes wears out rather quickly, especially when you’re exercising in them frequently. You’ll also want to be aware of the tread or heels wearing down. It’s a rough, recurring expense, but it’s worth preventing chronic foot and ankle problems. If you’re unsure what shoes to buy, consult a podiatrist or sports medicine health professional. WebMD also offers tips on finding the right athletic shoe for you.
It doesn’t matter how strong or athletic you are, you are doing a disservice to your body if you attempt to fight through pain. Ignoring the signals your body is telling you and pushing through pain can lead to injury or worsen an existing injury. If you experience foot or ankle pain while playing a sport, stop or modify the activity immediately until the pain subsides. If you’ve been injured previously, you should go through a sufficient rehabilitation period and training before returning to playing the sport at full capacity to avoid reinjuring.
The sooner you force yourself to get back into the sport, the more likely you’ll reinjure your foot or ankle. In addition to listening to your body and going through the proper rehab and conditioning, athletes who have experienced foot or ankle injuries in the past could benefit from using a brace or tape to prevent another injury.
Conditioning is a gradual process that can significantly help you build muscle, improve balance, increase flexibility and range of motion, and stabilize your joints. All of these benefits can ultimately help you avoid injury. Regular conditioning of the muscles and joints prepares your body for the intense physical pressure that is placed on your body when playing a sport. Strength and conditioning programs typically involve stretching and exercises targeting specific muscles.
If you’re an athlete who wants to prevent injury or re-injury to your feet and ankles, it is important to consult a podiatrist who can guide you in putting the proper protocol in place to stay healthy.
Dr. Nina L. Coletta’s podiatric practice is proud to serve as Broward County’s leading podiatric practitioner. Our practice works in conjunction with other medical disciplines – including orthopedics, internal medicine, and physical therapy – to provide you with the most comprehensive and effective treatment. Make an appointment and let us help you stay in the game.