Athletic competition dates back to Ancient Greece with the first Olympics. Sports encourage physical fitness and teach children the value of sportsmanship and teamwork. Feet provide mobility and keep you in the game. Sports have positive effects on many parts of the body including the heart, lungs and mind. The feet and ankles are the exceptions.
Common sports injuries include ankle sprains, pulled muscles and ligaments, tendinitis, stress fractures, blackened toenails, bone bruises, calluses, blisters and others. Suffolk Foot and Ankle can recommend some good habits and practices that both serious and recreational athletes can take to avoid or minimize injury.
– Warm-up exercises and stretching are musts prior to playing your sport. Muscle and tendon injuries can result from insufficient flexibility. Before play, warm-up by jogging a short distance, walking briskly, jumping rope, riding a stationary bike, or running in one place for a few minutes. Your muscles will then be ready to begin stretching. After your sport, “cool down” with stretching. This will make you feel less stiff the next day.
– Put powder or use a foot spray on your feet and in your shoes. By absorbing moisture it reduces friction and lessens the chance of a fungal infection.
– Sock-sense is wearing wool, cotton-wool blends or semi-synthetic athletic socks that wick moisture away from your feet. These let the feet breathe. Avoid 100% cotton socks.
– Blisters can be avoided by using Vaseline and gauze. Wear thick and cushiony socks designed for your sport or two thinner layers of socks. Water blisters should be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and punctured with sterile needle to let water out. Leave the skin on, as the skin acts as a protection. Then cover with gauze and tape. Put Moleskin over the gauze for added comfort. It is best to assess and correct the cause, which may be tight shoes, foot imbalances, etc.
– Wear the correct sport specific shoe. This not only improves your performance on the court or field, but also helps keep you free from serious foot and ankle injuries.
– Don’t be a hero and suffer through the pain. Evaluate the problem and call our office.
– Don’t get right back into your routine by doing “too much too soon.” Build up your level or duration of activity gradually to strengthen your foot and ankle.
– Don’t self-medicate to mask foot pain. Visit Suffolk Foot and Ankle to treat the cause of the problem.
– Don’t attempt a 100% workout if you are just back from a foot or ankle injury. Restoration of flexibility and muscle strength takes time.
In case of injury remember “RICE!” Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Injuries should be treated as soon as possible after they have occurred. Take these precautions to reduce the incidence and severity of injury: develop endurance, strength, flexibility and agility with physical training and have the best protective equipment. A proper assessment and appropriate treatment by a podiatrist can pave the way to pain-free playing. Prevention is the key to comfort!