It’s April, which means it’s National Foot Health Awareness Month. Didn’t know? Now you’re aware. I’ve done my job.
To me, I’m going to consider April to be Foot Pain Prevention Month. After all, healthy feet aren’t helpful if you’re not using them. The fact that we can do so much with our feet is a wonder. Each foot has 26 bones and 33 joints and are the foundation for the rest of our body. But with such intricacies, they’re very often injured.
My goal is to keep you active without suffering an injury. Yes, I enjoy seeing you in the office. But, I prefer you stay uninjured. Here are four things you can do to prevent an athletic injury.
- Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for your sport. You should run in running shoes. You should play basketball in court shoes. You should play golf in golf shoes. The reason for this is that each type of shoe is designed for the mechanical motions of each sport. If you play a game of tennis in a running shoe, the tread will grab onto the court and you run the risk of a foot or ankle sprain.
- Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for your foot type. Athletic shoes come in three general categories: Neutral, Stability, and Motion Control. The right shoes are not the ones that come in your favorite color. Your foot type determines the proper shoe for you to wear. For instance, if you have a generally stable foot, you would look for a Stability shoe. A flat foot would tend to fit well in a Motion Control shoe. A high-arched cavus foot is best suited for a Neutral shoe. Some of these recommendations change with the use of a custom orthotic. If you need a shoe recommendation, just ask me.
- Consider the surface you're running or playing on. The surface you're on makes a big impact on healthy your feet will stay during that activity. That's because when you are running or jumping, the force from your body pushes into the surface. You also have a force coming from the surface back into your body. And your feet get the majority of that impact. That is known as the ground reactive force. If you jump on a harder surface, such as concrete, a stronger force will push back into your feet. A more pliable surface, like the path at Memorial Park or a high school track, offers shock absorption. The force back into your feet is much less. This is important to prevent injuries such as stress fracture or shin splints.
- Stretch and Strengthen. I find that many recreational athletes don't spend enough time stretching and strengthening. This applies to your feet, ankles, and legs, as well as your core. Stretching helps to condition your muscles to allow them to work more efficiently. Stretching also eliminates lactic acid buildup and helps you recover faster. Strengthening allows the muscle mass to expand and will increase your endurance. Here are some easy exercises to consider.
These four recommendations will help you keep your feet and ankles healthy. No one wants to be sidelined with a foot or ankle injury. At the first sign of pain, your best bet is to come into the office for an immediate appointment. There, I'll be able to assess your injury. Together we will discuss a plan to get you feeling better. This will allow you to return to the activities you love as soon as possible. But, I can't help you unless you come in. You can request an appointment by completing this simple online form.