Lots of sports focus on your feet, from soccer to track and field and beyond. Whether you’re running, jumping, or even skiing, your feet and ankles are likely key to your competitive edge.
This also means that your feet and ankles take a lot of punishment and pressure during practice and competition. Active athletes should take care to avoid foot and ankle injuries. Sports injuries like ankle sprains, Achilles tendon problems, and stress fractures in your feet can result in lengthy recovery time or even career-ending complications.
Expert podiatrist Dr. Leonard Greenwald, DPM, works with new and existing sports medicine patients to address foot and ankle injuries, as well as to develop preventive plans. With the right approach, you can reduce your risk of sports-related foot and ankle injuries.
Here’s what Dr. Greenwald wants his patients in the San Jose, California, area to know about protecting their feet and ankles from injury, damage, and wear-and-tear.
Getting the right athletic gear
The gear you wear on your feet is one of the greatest predictors of risk to your feet and ankles. Many sports work well with specialized types of footwear. At the very least, you should use good athletic shoes and make sure to update your athletic footwear frequently.
As a rule of thumb, switch out your shoes when you start to see signs of wear on the treads or ankles. Talk to Dr. Greenwald about specialized gear that could benefit you, including custom orthotics, ankle supports, and more. You may also benefit from specialist advice from sporting goods providers, coaches, and other experts.
Warm up, cool down, and stretch
You can protect yourself from sports injuries by practicing good warm-up, cool-down, and stretching habits. When your body is stretched out, loose, and ready, you’re less likely to tense up and get injured during a fall. The right warm-up routine can even help keep you from falling in the first place, activating core strength and balance.
You may need to both stretch and flex your feet and ankles before participating in sports or related workouts. Drawing the entire alphabet with the toes of each foot is one good stretch that can also address problems with weak ankles.
And don’t neglect your calves and thighs. Your leg muscles do a lot to support and protect joints in your feet and ankles, and activating them can help you to more effectively avoid injury.
Pay attention to better balance
Balance is essential when it comes to preventing sports injuries. You can avoid falls that put your feet and ankles at risk if you develop your core strength and balance abilities. Try standing on one foot at a time, using a chair to help you balance as needed, and slowly increase the amount of time you balance on each foot as your skills improve.
When you’re conscious and aware of risks to your feet and ankles related to your sport, workout routine, and activity level, you’re better able to take the right steps to consistently protect these key, but vulnerable, areas of your body. Ask Dr. Greenwald what you should change in your routine to optimize your foot and ankle protection.
Schedule your initial consultation appointment with Dr. Greenwald today, and learn more about how you can avoid the pain, expense, and negative career impacts associated with foot and ankle injuries. Contact Dr. Greenwald online or over the phone now to book.