Without strong, healthy feet, you can’t expect to play at an elite level. Unfortunately, your feet and ankles are at risk for sustaining sports injuries no matter your level of play. You may think those injuries are easy to play through, but even a minor sprain can become a long-term problem if you’re not careful.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to add foot and ankle protection to your training program. Athletes of all kinds in the Lutherville, Maryland, area trust Dr. Kelly Geoghan and her team to provide not only the best treatments, but also the best advice for injury prevention.
Here’s our ultimate foot and ankle care guide for athletes.
Common foot and ankle injuries in athletes
Foot and ankle injuries are among the most common sports injuries. They usually stem from improper training techniques and equipment use. The injuries we see most often include:
- Sprains and strains
- Fractures, including stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
We carefully evaluate your symptoms and discuss your injury in detail to understand the extent of the damage before making a treatment recommendation.
Tips for getting (and keeping) your feet in playing shape
Rest assured, you’ve got an expert podiatrist on your team if the worst happens, but we recommend taking every precaution to avoid a sidelining injury. Following are some of our favorite tips.
Use the right equipment
Here, we’re mainly talking about your shoes. They should fit perfectly, cushion and support your feet, and be tailored to your sport. At your local shoe store, you’ll notice that each sport has its own section because basketball shoes aren’t meant for cross-country running, and a sprinter’s shoes look and perform differently from a volleyballer’s.
Don’t neglect a proper warm-up
You stretch your quads, hamstrings, shoulders, and back before practice or play, but do you remember to stretch your feet and ankles before you run onto the field or court? They need to warm up just as much as the rest of your body.
Jogging, walking, or hopping on a stationary bike or treadmill — along with gentle stretching — goes a long way toward preventing unnecessary injuries.
Take a beat
Cooling down is just as important as warming up, especially where your feet are concerned. After they’ve endured the brunt of your training session, allowing them a moment to rest and recover is crucial to avoiding injury.
Keep your feet clean
Much of this blog has focused on injury prevention, but having healthy feet also means doing your best to avoid the pitfalls of poor foot hygiene. A bout of athlete’s foot or toenail fungus can be just as detrimental to your game as an injury.
Custom orthotics are one of our go-to treatments for injuries, and they’re also a great preventive tool. Talk to us about designing an orthotic that improves your foot mechanics, offers extra support, or enhances your training sessions.
Remember, store-bought orthotics aren’t the same as the orthotics we prescribe for you, which are designed for optimal biomechanics. If you want top-of-the-lineup performance, custom orthotics are the way to go.
If something’s not right, get help right away
You may be the “walk it off” type, but we urge you to resist the temptation when you’ve developed a problem with your feet or ankles. A few days on the sidelines recovering from plantar fasciitis is better than spending weeks on the bench dealing with an injury that refuses to heal.
We know the importance of proper foot and ankle care for every level of athlete, and we’d love to talk one-on-one to give you customized advice and support. Call our friendly staff at 410-753-4422, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment with Kelly Geoghan, DPM, today.