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How to protect your feet against sports-related injuries

Sports are a great way to stay fit and healthy, especially if you are bound to a desk all day. However, you should understand that exercise, if done improperly, can be dangerous.

The feet are especially prone to injury due to the many small, delicate bones and connections. Without proper form, technique, and attire, injuries will become familiar and set back any progress.

Once you are injured, rest is often the best course of action, which takes you out of the game. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could be weeks or even months depending on the type of injury before you can begin exercising again.

woman feet runner

Prevention is often the best course of action.

What sports are the most injury-prone for feet?

Any sport can damage your feet, but there is a sliding scale of which sports are most likely to cause foot injury. These include but are not limited to:

  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Running
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Rugby

These sports all have a common thread to them, namely that they are high impact, can involve jerky movements, and some involve kicking things!

5 Ways to prevent sports-related foot injury

Obviously, nothing is foolproof, and you can still get injured even if you follow this advice, however, by understanding the main risks, you should be more conscious about the impact on your feet.

Invest in the proper footwear for your sport.

It sounds obvious on the outset, but there have been many cases whereby incorrect footwear has led to an injury.

Making sure to find and get measured correctly will go a long way in helping to prevent injury. Incorrect footwear can result in improper form leading to either acute or chronic pain down the line.

Investing in the right shoes for the right job will pay dividends. Moreover, by choosing the right pair of shoes, you will even find that your ability improves. For sports like competitive running, this can mean shaving off seconds (or minutes for marathons)!

Accept when you need a new pair of shoes.

Buying the right pair of shoes is only one half of the footwear equation. Ensuring that you realize when your sports shoes have seen better days will help stave off injury.

There is no real way to know precisely when you need new footwear, but using common sense goes a long way. Fraying soles and degrading insoles are a sure sign that you might need to start looking for a new pair.

While it can be frustrating to need to replace something that is not cheap, to begin with, you need to do a cost/ benefit analysis about whether you want to risk keeping older shoes for longer, as the more you use them, the more likely they will give and cause injury.

Learn how to warm up properly.

Stiffness is the enemy, and soft, supple muscles are essential to get the most from any strenuous activity.

Warming up before engaging in any sport-related activity is vital for much more than protecting yourself from a foot injury, but it will also help the rest of your muscles by making them more supple.

With regards to your feet, the following warm-up stretches are recommended:

  • Calf raises
  • Ankle rotations
  • Toe extensions and flexions

Don’t push yourself too far.

You may think that it is only competitive sports that make us push ourselves too hard, however sometimes, when we are exercising on our own, we can overstretch our bodies without realizing it is too late.

By trying to get the absolute best result, it is easy to forget that the short term win could result in losing all the gains you have built up over your period of exercise.

Understand the different types of pain

It is not just related to your feet, but also your body in general.

As a rule of thumb, any joint-related pain should cause concern, and you should probably stop whatever activity you are engaged in. Whereas muscles related pain can be something that you might be able to work through.

If you are experiencing foot pain, you should consider seeing a foot specialist who can advise you on the best course of action to remedy the issue and help prevent any future injury.

Podiatrists, like those at essexunionpodiatry.com, are well placed to diagnose any problems with your feet.

Summary

Hopefully, these pointers can help you prevent foot injuries when engaging in sports. Some points may seem very obvious, but it is often the clearest ideas which are the ones we miss.

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