This sports season may look different than ones in the past, but your feet don’t know the difference. Make sure they’re ready to support you in play. Dr. Stuart Honick and Dr. James R. Williamson at Go Feet in Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey are happy to help you if your feet suffer an injury, but your best approach is to prevent pain in the first place.
Whether you’re a student athlete or an adult weekend warrior, it’s important to keep your feet healthy by preparing them for your fall events. Here are some ways to get your feet ready for a fun season and prevent heel pain or disastrous foot or ankle injuries. Whether you play soccer, football, or run cross country, these tips can help you perform at your best.
Get your gear ready
The primary gear you need to protect your feet is a good pair of shoes. Your choice depends on the type of sport you play and your particular gait. Shoes aren’t just about style. They’re designed for a specific sport for a reason — they protect you from injury in a specific sport.
Basketball shoes, for example, typically feature a high ankle and thick sole to support your quick court changes, lateral movements and pounding. But, if you try to go run a 10K in a pair of basketball shoes, you’ll quickly find your feet feel heavy, and tripping is a real hazard.
That being said, get fitted for the shoes that match your type of play. When you go to the store, wear the socks you wear for the sport and go later in the day for your sizing — feet tend to swell with activity.
Train early and ramp up intensity gradually
A primary cause of injury and pain in your feet is the simple act of doing too much too soon. If you’ve taken the summer as a time of renewal and rest, don’t expect to return to your former play level right away.
Your body needs time to adjust to increased physical activity levels. Even if you have been active during the summer months, some of the specific exercises involved in your game workouts are probably different. You need to take time to bring your body up to speed.
Get into the rigors of running, sports practice, and competition gradually. Ramp up your workouts so that you steadily boost your foot and ankle stamina and flexibility. The rest of your body will thank you, too.
Get a sports physical before the season starts
If you’re a casual athlete, such as playing in your office softball league, you may not need a formal exam, but if you’re starting a competitive season, getting a sports physical prior to play is smart.
Even if you feel just fine, a check of your feet can identify any areas of weakness that put you at risk for acute or chronic injury. The team at Go Feet can help you with exercises to prevent injury and recommendations for orthotics, shoe types, and exercises to keep your feet healthy.
Resolve old injuries
Maybe you ended last season with a lingering injury — a tight Achilles, immobile ankle, or chronic plantar fasciitis. Your pain may have diminished somewhat, but is still noticeable. When you ramp up your intensity level, the injury is likely to come back with a vengeance.
Continuing to run when you have plantar fasciitis or pushing through a stress fracture so you can start field hockey in the fall is only going to exacerbate the problem. Ultimately, you’ll end up spending a longer time in pain and rehabbing because you’ve made the problem worse.
Talk to the experts at Go Feet about getting yourself fully healed prior to starting a new season of play. Starting healthy gives you a better chance at a full, successful fall!
We welcome all sorts of athletes to the practice of Go Feet. We partner with you to keep your feet and ankles functioning at their best. Call for an appointment, or use this website to find out how we can help you.