Posts for: July, 2012
How to Maximize Your Game with Good Foot Health
When it comes to exercise, your feet are one of the most overlooked parts of the body, enduring tremendous strain and stress during a hard workout. It's no surprise that an athlete's foot and ankle are prime candidates for injuries. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), poor foot care during physical activity is a contributing factor to some of the more than 300 foot ailments.
The following tips may help prevent foot and ankle injuries to keep you in the game.
Get a check-up
Visit Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois and your regular physician before starting any sport or fitness activity. This should include a complete foot and physical exam. During a foot exam, a podiatrist can identify whether your previously injured ankle is vulnerable to sprains, and recommend supportive ankle braces for increased stability.
Pre-workout warm up and stretch
Jogging before a competition or workout can help reduce the risk for foot and ankle injuries by warming up muscles, ligaments and blood vessels. Proper stretching before beginning a workout is also important. When muscles are properly stretched, the strain on joints, tendons and muscles is greatly reduced.
Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately
It's possible to injure bones in the foot or ankle without knowing it. What may seem like a sprain at the time may actually be a fracture. See a podiatrist at the first onset of ankle pain. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chance of preventing long-term problems like instability, and the sooner you can get back in the game.
Wear shoes specific to your sport
Different fitness programs require different footwear. Wearing the appropriate type of athletic shoe for your unique foot type and needs can help prevent foot problems while keeping you at your best performance. Remember to replace old, worn shoes in order to ensure optimal stability and support.
Pay attention to what your feet are telling you and remember to rest and consult our Springfield office when you first notice pain. Exercising is a great way to stay energized and fit, but if you're neglecting the health of your feet, you may be setting yourself up for serious injury.
Athletics and recreational programs are in full swing as we move into the summer months and despite the differences among the sports, all participants are susceptible to foot problems. This time of year is especially important for people to avoid foot problems if they are beginning an exercise program. Here are some of the more common questions my patients ask and helpful tips to prevent foot and ankle injuries during exercise, tennis, golf, and running.
What can I do to prevent injuries when I start working out?
It’s important to consult your physician before you begin a fitness program. This includes a complete physical and a foot exam. Condition yourself properly to include all-around body strength and flexibility. Select shoes especially designed for the activity you are participating in. Follow proper foot care hygiene and stretch your muscles, particularly at the calf, before and after play. Pay attention to what your feet are telling you.
What are the common foot problems playing tennis?
Tennis is particularly stressful on your feet because of the quick starts and stops and lateral movements from side to side. The most common problems are ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and tennis toe.
What are the best ways to prevent injury?
If you have weak ankles or history of sprains, wear a simple ankle brace inside your shoe. Select a stable tennis shoe that is not too rigid and provides flexibility to perform. The shoe should provide durable toe support. Custom orthotics is recommended to provide arch and joint support. Proper warm-up and stretching are also important. These actions will help prevent injuries, relieve foot pain, and extend playing time.
What are the common foot problems associated with golf?
Golf is stressful on your feet and ankles because of excessive walking up and down hills. The most common problems golfers have are tendonitis, capsulitis, and ligament sprains and pulls that keep the golf enthusiasts off the greens. Improper shoes can also bring blisters and neuromas and other foot and ankle pain.
What are the best ways to prevent injury?
Walking up and down hills is a normal motion and it puts abnormal stress on your Achilles tendon; and walking on uneven surfaces puts a lot of strain on the tendons along the outer portion of the ankle. If you don’t stretch before hand, you will put a lot of wear and tear on your muscles that may lead to severe tendonitis. If you use arch supports in your shoes, you will be surprised how much better your feet feel at the end of a round of golf.
What are some of the common foot problems associated with running?
Gravity tends to come into play more during running and a considerable more stress is placed on your feet. The 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels all work together in the foot while running and take on maximum stress. The most common foot problems that occur are blisters, corns, calluses, Athletes foot, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
What is the best way to prevent injury?
Runners should properly condition their body, build a routine, and stretch their muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after each run. Proper running shoes are critical. Shoes should provide flexibility in the right places to help with shock absorption. More rigidity is needed in the middle of the foot. The heel should sit low in the shoe and the cushioned sole should be slightly wider than a walking shoe to absorb impact. Custom orthotics will reduce stress on lower extremities and allow you to run with less fatigue. Keep your feet powdered and dry and wear clean socks. Shoes hold moisture so alternate shoes with each run. If you develop recurring and/or increasing aches and pains, contact a physician to help pinpoint the problem and prevent more serious injury or long-term damage to your feet.