The start of a new sports season is a good time for us at Texas Foot Specialists to remind patients about the proper care necessary to avoid injury to your feet and ankles. Many sports-related injuries that we treat in our Houston, Pasadena and Sugar Land offices could have been prevented. Some simple steps to protect your feet before beginning a new season include:
- Making sure you have the appropriate and properly fitted shoes for the sport you will be doing. If you currently own shoes, they should be inspected for signs of wear and replaced if necessary. If you are buying new shoes, go to a store that specializes in fitness footwear and let an expert measure your foot and help you pick the right shoe for you.
- Taking care of new or previously existing injuries. If you are being treated for a chronic foot or ankle problem or if you have recently begun to experience pain, stiffness or swelling in any part of your lower extremities, make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, Dr. Bruce Miller or Dr. Gregory Mangum, to have it evaluated. Adding additional stress to a foot that is in pain can result in debilitating and possibly even permanent damage.
- Choosing a sports program wisely. A sound program will start with warm ups and stretches before beginning practices or workouts. It should be well matched to the current fitness level of the participants and focus on healthy improvement of the athlete. Avoid teams where “winning at all costs” and “play through the pain” are part of the philosophy.
Three to Watch For
There are many ways that feet and ankles can become injured in sports. Three of the injuries we see most frequently are:
Achilles Tendonitis—when the long tendon that stretches along the back of your lower leg, connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle, gets suddenly overstretched, it can become inflamed and even rupture. Stair climbing and running hills are common causes of this injury, as well as increasing intensity or duration of a workout too quickly.
Ankle Sprains—shoes that lack ankle support, previous ankle injuries and poorly maintained fields and courts are often behind ankle sprains. Don’t believe that because you can walk on it your ankle is not sprained!
Arch and Heel Problems—pains in your arch and heels are interrelated. Lack of support in the arch of your foot puts pressure on your heel and can result in pain in one or both parts of the foot.
If you experience any pain or believe you have injured your foot or ankle, it’s essential that you contact us immediately by calling one of our offices at: (281) 242-4448, (281) 991-0600 or (713) 664-6677.