How To Protect Your Feet While Playing Sports
Anyone who has played sports knows just how strenuous it can be on your feet. Think of all the skilled movements you make as an athlete: the swift twists and turns in basketball, the rigorous sprints taken in a football or baseball game, and the hard landings made after a volleyball spike. Regardless of how fit you are, the physical demands of your sport will still leave you stepping off the court or field with sore, tired feet.
Considering the wear and impact a sport can take on your feet, there is always the likelihood of damage or injury. In order to keep yourself in top condition to compete, proper foot care is essential.
Footwear appropriately designed for the sport is essential to prevent injury. A common bad habit among pickup players is wearing running shoes or skate shoes, even in a high-impact sport like basketball or volleyball.
Skate shoes are a horrible choice for any non-skating sport: they have extremely flat soles, designed to grip a board as tightly as possible. But for any other sport, you will not have the proper arch support or cushioning required for your movements.
While running shoes are perfectly appropriate for a casual game of football or soccer at the park, they are a poor choice for a sport like basketball. They may have the proper cushioning needed for running down the court, but they do not have a sole designed to grip the court surface when playing defense, increasing the likelihood of slipping. Moreover, they have neither the cushioning nor the ankle support to allow for a safe landing in basketball or indoor volleyball. Even popular low-top basketball shoes like the Kobe series will support your ankles better than a pair of running shoes.
Using either of these shoes improperly will put you at risk for conditions like plantar fasciitis or a serious ankle injury. It may not be possible or practical to have the perfect shoe for every activity, but make sure to choose the safest option available. For example, a basketball shoe would also be appropriate for court or concrete volleyball, since both sports involve quick movements, jumping, and hard landings.
Protecting Against Specific Injuries
If you have had an injury before, you know exactly which parts of your body are weaker and more prone to injury. Consider purchasing a brace or other type of support to protect your vulnerabilities.
- Take time off from your sport to recover, at least one day a week.
- Wear the proper equipment, such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, and shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, shoes, and/or eyewear. It’s worth mentioning that these will not guarantee safety, but they help immensely.
- Do strength and conditioning before playing. Fatigue is one of the top ten causes of injury.
- Increase your flexibility by stretching daily, and before and after games as well.
- Utilize the proper form and technique, for everything from throwing, shooting, kicking, blocking, and footwork.
- Take breaks in the middle of your game or practice session. This will reduce the chance of injury due to fatigue, as well as heat-induced illness.
- Play safe. Penalties and regulations in sports exist for a good reason.
- Do not try to be tough: stop playing if you notice pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after physical activity. Dehydration can lead to cramping (especially in the legs and feet), severe headaches, and heat injury.
- Wear light clothing.
- Wear breathable shoes to prevent foot conditions like toenail fungus.
The Trusted Podiatrist of Athletes
Whether you are a serious competitor on a sports team, or a casual player who loves to play pickup games on the weekend, a dedicated podiatrist who prioritizes your foot health is essential.
If your hobbies have been hard on your feet, schedule a consultation today with esteemed podiatrist Dr. Vikki. Dr. Vikki has a reputation as the trusted choice of Special Olympic athletes, and an outstanding record of patient satisfaction.
For this and all your related foot care concerns, contact the specialists at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center today.