When you think of athletes having to put their careers on hold because of foot injuries, the sports that come to mind are usually ones like basketball, football and baseball, all of which can put immense strain on the delicate bones and muscles of the foot and ankle. This week, however, world-famous swimmer Michael Phelps showed us that every athlete needs to be concerned about his or her foot health.
On July 28, Phelps showed up at the FINA Swimming World Championships wearing g a walking boot on his right foot and limping along. Now, Phelps didn’t hurt his foot swimming—in an interview with the AP, his coach Bob Bowman revealed that Phelps suffered a foot fracture while playing golf. According to Bowman, “he hit his foot somehow in the house and then he did that [golf] tournament when he walked about 20 miles and got a little stress fracture.”
Even though Phelps is officially retired, there is still some buzz that he’ll return to the sport at the 2016 Olympics. While he’ll have to delay training until his fracture heals, he should still be on track to return to the pool competitively in three years, unless he exacerbates his injury with improper care.
As a Houston podiatrist, I regularly see patients who have made an injury worse by continuing on with daily activities, putting extra stress on an already weakened foot or ankle. You smack your foot against the door and think it’s just a bruise, or you twist your ankle and try to walk off the pain.
Doing that is just asking for more problems! Take a lesson from me and Michael Phelps—at the first sign of foot pain or foot injury, contact my office and make an appointment to see me right away. Beginning treatment immediately after an injury could save you from a longer and more difficult recovery.