America has carried on a love affair with sports since its inception. Whether you are a professional athlete, play in youth or adult teams or have pickup games with friends, your feet and ankles take a beating while playing sports.
All vigorous sports should be played sensibly and safely. Improper preparation and techniques can lead to injury, especially in the lower extremities. Athletes of all levels should be aware of the various risks and potential sports injuries of playing the game. With the guidance of your podiatrist, you can avoid sports injuries and life on the bench.
Common Sports Injuries
Any sport offers a number of different ways to injure your feet and ankles. For instance, in baseball alone, ankle sprains may occur while running, fielding balls, stepping on or sliding into bases.
Your podiatrist will help to determine the extent of the injury and develop a treatment plan to guide you during the healing process. Failure to fully treat and rehabilitate a sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability and recurrent sprains.
Overuse or excessive training can also put some athletes on the bench with Achilles tendinitis or heel pain. The start and stop of many sports often creates pain and tightness in the calf and aggravation of the Achilles tendon. Regular, gentle and gradual stretching of the calf muscles before and after the game will help minimize the pain and stiffness.
Protect Your Feet: Wear Appropriate Shoes
There seems to be a shoe designed for every sport out there, but there is a method to the varying styles. Sport-specific shoes really can change your game and protect your feet from injury. There is no danger in wearing cleats, but they should be gradually introduced before being worn in the game. A young player needs to get a feel for cleats, which should not be worn off of the field.
While the improved traction of cleats may enhance play, it also leaves your ankles more susceptible to twists and turns. Anyone with pre-existing foot conditions should see a podiatrist before putting on cleats, and never wear hand-me-downs. Spikes, which are made to be lighter and more flexible these days, perform the same function as cleats, but engage with the ground differently. These should also be worn with caution until the feel of how they engage with the turf is understood.
Watch for irritation, blisters or redness while wearing cleats, because they can indicate a biomechanical problem in the legs or feet. Pain is a sure sign of a problem, and should be addressed immediately. If wearing cleats causes you pain, discontinue wearing them for a couple days and visit your foot doctor for further treatment and diagnosis.
When it comes to sports, it is important to protect your feet from injury. Activities such as football, baseball, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse often lead to ankle injuries as a result of play on artificial surfaces, improper footwear or inadequate stretching. Contact your podiatrist if you exhibit any injuries after playing your favorite sport. Your podiatrist can treat you and offer prevention techniques, so you aren't benched for the rest of the season.