7 Foot Injury Prevention Tips

Jun 29, 2017

Summer always brings a burst of activity for kids and adults alike. Whether you’re off to soccer camp, playing some pickup basketball, or simply going for a long run or bike ride, the time couldn’t be better than now. That is, unless heel pain, an ankle sprain, or other lower extremity athletic injury brings your summer to a crashing halt.

Exercise is, of course, great for your physical and mental health. But pain and injury while exercising is one of the top reasons people quit their routines, or never get off the couch in the first place. Lowering your sports injury risk, and taking steps to minimize the pain and pressure you feel with every step, can help you get out and go.

  • It starts with your shoes. Obviously, the fit matters—don’t try to squeeze into shoes that are too tight or big. But the type of shoe matters, too. By that we mean more than “don’t run your marathon in Crocs.” If you play a lot of basketball, for example, get yourself a good pair of basketball shoes; don’t assume your runners or cross-trainers are up to the task.
  • Don’t forget to replace those shoes when it’s time, either. We all get attached, of course. But that squishy midsole flattens with time, and that means less and less arch support and shock absorption for your bones and soft tissues. For active individuals, a new pair every 3 months or 400-500 miles is a good rule of thumb, though that varies based on factors like weight, activity, shoe quality, etc.
  • You can’t go from eating Doritos on the couch to starting in the NBA in a day. If you haven’t been active for a while, you’re ramping up your activity levels, or you’re switching sports, go slow at first. Your body and muscles need time to adjust to new motions and intensity levels. If you don’t check yourself, you’re very likely to wreck yourself.
  • If you’re a runner, remember that terrain make a difference, too. Try switching to flatter, softer surfaces if your current route is working over your feet.
  • Vary your activities. You want to avoid making the same types of motions over and over every day, especially high-impact events like running and jumping. Balance your weekly routine with alternatives like weight training, trying a different sport, or lower-impact cardio like biking or swimming.
  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes before you exercise. This helps get the blood flowing and your body and mind ready for activity. Light cardio and stretching are good choices.
  • Cool down after exercise, too. It helps your core temperature and heart rate return to normal more gradually. This can help prevent fainting and dizziness and prevent waste products from building up in your muscles.

If you find that your efforts to prevent or reduce your foot and ankle pain aren’t working, it’s time to make the call and set up an appointment with Dr. Darren Elenburg at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma. You may have a foot condition that needs to be diagnosed and addressed through treatment options such as custom orthotics. To set up your appointment, please dial (405) 418-2676.

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