- Warm Up Your Muscles
One of the most important steps in preventing foot injuries is getting blood flow to the muscles before you start playing sports or running. Far too many people skip this all-important first step because they are eager to jump into activity, but it doesn’t take long to do a warm-up exercise.
Do one of the following before you start training:
- Lightly stretch
- Take a 5 minute walk
- Jog in place for 2 to 3 minutes
- Avoid bouncy stretches
- Do Conditioning Exercises
To keep your joints flexible and help you maintain a good range of motion, try incorporating the following stretches into your exercise routine:
- Standing lunges
- Standing quad stretches
- Calf raises
- Straight leg raises
- Hip flexor stretches
- Hamstring stretches
- Wear (And Regularly Replace) Sport-Specific Shoes
Choosing the right footwear is one of the most crucial steps you can take to preventing foot and ankle injury. If your feet have low arches, look for shoes that provide support under the arch and in the front of the shoe. For high arches, your shoes should provide more cushioning and a softer platform.
The second factor to consider is what kind of sports or activities you’re doing on a regular basis.
This shoe chart from the American Podiatric Medical Association shows exactly what kind of footwear you should select based on the sport you’re playing.
- Steer Clear of Uneven Surfaces
Rocky terrain, loose gravel, holes, and tree roots all pose a risk to your ankles. Whether you’re running, jogging, or walking on a trail, one false move can end in a painful twisted ankle. Aim for dirt roads, concrete or asphalt instead. If you are training for a marathon, try to train on the same type of surface that you’ll eventually be running on.
- Tread Hills Carefully
If you’re trying to conquer that steep hill in your neighborhood, allow yourself time to gradually build up your strength. Running or jogging up steep inclines are hard on your feet and ankles. Use extra precaution when running downhill, since running too fast downwards can often cause more injuries than running uphill.
- Use a Brace or Tape
Bracing and taping are both effective ways to prevent foot/ankle injuries because they provide mechanical support, as well as increasing your awareness about how you’re moving your ankle.
- Rest and Rehabilitate After Injury
Never underestimate the importance of rest and recovery. If you do incur an injury, speak to a qualified podiatrist for a comprehensive recovery and treatment plan. Remember that you must modify or completely stop your sport of choice until your pain subsides.
If you have a foot or ankle injury that needs attention, the physicians at San Antonio Podiatry can help. We have years of experience diagnosing and treating sports injuries, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and much more. Check out our locations to find an office near you. Book an appointment online with one of our podiatrists, or call 210-405-7672.