Playing sports can be good exercise and lots of fun. But it’s not much fun when you sustain an injury, especially to your foot or ankle. Up to 25% of sports injuries affect the ankles and feet.
There are steps you can take, though, to prevent injuries.
If you’re looking for injury prevention tips or are suffering from a sports-related foot or ankle injury, our board-certified podiatrists at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle can help. We diagnose and treat a wide range of foot and ankle injuries from our offices in and around Chicago.
Because prevention is always preferable to injury, here’s what we want athletes and weekend warriors to know about preventive foot care.
Sports-related injuries can come from many different causes, but most stem from improper training practices, wearing the wrong equipment for the sport, exerting yourself while in poor health, and incorrect warmup before exercise.
Common sports-related foot and ankle injuries include:
The types of injuries can be further classified into two large groups:
Overuse injuries occur over time. They result from continually using or overusing the same muscle, tendon, or bone without adequate warmup or the right footgear. The constant stress eventually leads to damage just as painful as an acute injury.
Examples of overuse injuries include stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Acute injuries happen suddenly. You can sustain an acute injury like a bone fracture, joint displacement, or ligament rupture if you collide with another person, trip while running, or land improperly from a jump.
Some types of injuries, including ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains, may have elements of both categories. If you constantly overwork your body, the tissues weaken, making you more vulnerable to sudden trauma.
To help you prevent those foot and ankle injuries, our team put together this list of five foot care tips for athletes.
If you’re active, your shoes need to fit well and support and cushion your feet. Buy shoes appropriate for your sport that have good arch and heel support. When the shoes become worn, replace them.
Custom-made shoe inserts or other assistive devices can take the strain off your tendons, muscles, and bones.
Warming up gets blood flowing to the muscles you need for your sport. Do 5-10 minutes of light exercise, such as walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bike on a low setting.
Your cooldown is just as important as your warmup, allowing your muscles to gradually relax and rest. Cooldown exercises vary depending on your sport, but should allow your heart rate to return to normal and should include stretching.
If you do suffer a foot or ankle injury, give it plenty of rest to start, then gradually build up your strength with targeted exercises. If you return to sports too soon, you’re more likely to suffer an additional injury.
Chicagoland Foot and Ankle is the place to go for information, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of foot and ankle injuries. Call us today or book your appointment online. We have locations in the Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, Orland Park, and New Lenox, Illinois.