Summer is one of the most popular times of the year for recreational sports and activities. Intramural sports have been growing in popularity in recent years and are a great way to combine social activity and exercise. Despite all the benefits of physical activity, sports can be very demanding of our body, especially our feet.
For example, let’s take a look at football. Football has a well-known reputation for being a contact sport. Most people think of players tackling one another as the main form of contact, but have you ever thought about all of the contact the players’ feet have with the ground?! All of the running, jumping, tackling and even victory dances take a toll on their feet. This pressure on the bottom of the feet can lead to many problems, ranging from corns and calluses to chronic knee and back pain.
Exercise is such an important part of whole-body health, but it can come at a price: sports injuries. The following guidelines can help you reduce your likelihood of a sports injury.
· Stretch, stretch, stretch! – Warm up exercises, although at times tedious, are there for a reason. Stretching your muscles both before and after physical activity can reduce the risk of a muscle strain or sprain.
· Change your socks – It is a good idea to change your socks between games. As you exercise, your body temperature rises causing you to sweat and your feet are no exception! Wet socks not only increase the friction between your foot and the sock, but can also harbor bacteria. This can lead to blisters and fungal infections.
· Maintain good hygiene – Wash your feet regularly, especially after a game. Trimming your toenails to an appropriate length is also important to prevent ingrown toenails.
· Choose the right shoes – Match your shoes to the activity. If you know you are going to be playing softball, for example, bring your athletic shoes with you to the field.
· Make Adjustments – If you encounter foot or ankle pain, you may need an orthotic or shoe modification. Your podiatrist can evaluate your feet and cast you for a custom orthotic. These devices slip inside of your athletic shoe and can make a huge difference in pain relief.
If you have any questions or concerns about a possible sports injury consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Lasrson at at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. It’s our job to get you back in the game. Now, play ball!