How to Prevent Sports-Related Foot Injuries
Worried that your sporting adventures are taking their toll on your foot health? Learn how to avoid injury with these simple steps.
The foundation of mobility, feet are an integral part of the body. If you’re an active person, your feet will likely get some real use!
Allowing you to walk, run and jump, feet feel the impact of the rest of your body’s actions. In fact, when you run, your feet have to support up to 3-4 times your body weight.
While exercise is incredibly important to overall health and wellbeing, this force can take its toll on your feet.
Yet often tucked away in socks and shoes, very few take the time to care for their feet. Want to know how to avoid sports injuries and take care of your feet? Read on for some top tips and tricks.
How to look after your active feet
What causes foot injuries from sport?
From ankle rolling and shin splints to sprains and strains, many foot problems arise from exercise. But what exactly causes them?
They often fall into three main categories:
- Incorrect training
- Foot structure
For sporty folk, it can be tempting to take part in too much activity and also too soon. Using your muscles too much can be injury inducing, but so can trying to take on too much early on in your training. If you’re trying to run a marathon on day 1 of your couch to 5k, you can expect injury!
We also need to understand that not everyone’s feet are the same. While one training shoe might work wonders for your friend, it might not be the right fit or shape for your feet. Ignoring the structure of your feet can cause real problems.
How to prevent foot injuries in sport
It may sound like we’re harking back to your school days, but warming up is essential to muscle health! We get it, the warm-up is everyone’s least favourite part. You just want to get stuck in! But if you go gung-ho into it, your muscles won’t be ready for action and you’re more likely to injure yourself.
Condition your muscles
The impatience that makes you swerve the warm-up often weaves its way into the training itself. If you try and skip a few steps, it’s unlikely that you’ll get ahead of your training plan, but rather injure yourself. If you force an untrained body, it will break!
Make sure you create a clear and achievable training regime and stick to it.
Find the right shoes
Choose sports shoes appropriate for your foot type and structure. While it’s tempting to pick shoes based on how they look, make sure the functionality is there too.
If you have low arches or flat feet, for example, you’ll want to find shoes that support both the toe and the arch. High arches, however, require more cushioning and a softer platform.
Buy new shoes
Have your shoes seen better days? While some might want to hold on to their running shoes for years to come, you’ll need to find yourself a new pair as soon as the heel or tread wear down.
Be smart with where you run
We all know that road running isn’t great for the knees, but neither is uneven ground. When choosing your route, aim to avoid rocky terrains and loose shingle.
If you’re an avid woodland runner, make sure you keep an eye out for holes and exposed roots. It pays off to plan a safe route before heading out.
If you typically suffer from lower leg injuries, dirt roads are a great choice as they’re often a softer option than city roads.
Listen to your body
The saying is old, but it remains true: listen to your body. Take a rest if you need to or modify exercises to avoid further injury.
Consult a doctor before picking back up where you left off, particularly after a period of inactivity.
Protect your feet outside of sport
When you’re not exercising, you’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing the healthiest shoes for your feet. And that includes at work and formal events!
When trying new shoes on, the evening is the best time. Your feet are likely to be more swollen after a day of using them, so you’ll get a more accurate show of sizing.
If you love the look of some of your old shoes but know they rub and aren’t particularly supportive of your arch, make sure you arm yourself with the right tools. Grab some heel grips to keep away the blisters and give your arch the cushioning it needs with orthotic inserts. These are often reusable, and won’t break the bank.
You should now be ready to give your feet the protection they deserve and keep them free of injury during your active adventures!
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