Following these basic foot care guidelines can help keep your feet healthy, injury-free, and properly functioning while playing sports, whether you are a novice, a professional, or just enjoy sports for exercise and recreation. Many sports involve quick motions, side-to-side movement, quick turns, jumps, running, and sprinting, such as soccer, tennis, running, track and field, basketball, football, baseball, and softball. The feet, ankles, and lower legs can be susceptible to a variety of injuries, ranging from blisters, shin splints, corns, calluses, and athlete’s foot to sprains, torn ligaments, joint and muscle problems, and fractures.
Here is a list of things you can do to keep your feet and ankles healthy and injury-free during sports:
- Maintain your feet by keeping them clean and dry.
- Wear the proper footwear for the sport you are playing with consideration to the sport’s movements, playing surface, and impact on the feet, as well as your foot type and gait. Keep sneakers clean and dry and alternate pairs to air them out.
- Wear quality, properly fitting, cotton socks.
- Keep your body healthy and in good condition with a consistent physical fitness program that incorporates strength training and stretching. Maintain a healthy weight to alleviate stress on the body.
- Stretch and warm up before playing sports; stretch and cool down when you are done playing as well.
- Any type of pain in the foot or ankle should be immediately addressed by contacting a podiatrist, as it is in an indication that something is wrong. Waiting to see if the pain goes away on its own or ignoring the pain because you think it is minor or normal can cause the damage to worsen. There should not be chronic pain before, during, or after playing a sport.