6 Tips for Avoiding a Sports Injury

Although tennis elbow, knee injuries, and concussions are some of the most common sports injuries, they aren’t the only ones. Your feet and ankles can take quite a beating on the courts or the field. 

Foot and ankle injuries can quickly halt your progress. Thankfully, we treat various sports injuries, including sprains, strains, and fractures, here at Anderson Foot and Ankle Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah.

It’s our goal to help you get back on your feet if you’re hurt, but we also want to help you avoid sports injuries. In this guide, Dr. Mikol Anderson shares six tips for keeping your feet and ankles healthy during athletic events.

1. Always use the right equipment

No matter which sport you’re playing, always use the right safety equipment. Depending on which sport you play, safety equipment may include:

If you have orthotics, consider these as part of your equipment. It’s crucial to wear your equipment as instructed. Studies show that, if needed, orthotics can help prevent future injuries, including fractures. Researchers noted that while orthotics can help prevent re-injury, OTC shock-absorbing insoles didn’t have the same impact. 

2. Wear the right shoes 

Whether you’re playing golf, soccer, or basketball, your feet need the right shoe for the activity at hand. Athletic shoes are designed to support your foot and ankle for specific sports. For example, basketball shoes have higher tops, which support your ankles during the quick stops and sudden turns that occur during play. On the other hand, soccer shoes are designed to help protect your feet and toes from the impact of kicking the ball. 

In addition to choosing the right shoes for the right sport, make sure the shoes fit well. Don’t guess your size! Wearing well-fitting shoes (with the proper arch/heel support) gives your foot the shock absorption it needs. Properly fitting shoes also help prevent injuries because they evenly distribute your weight. 

3. Don’t overdo it

If your training sessions are too long or too vigorous, you’re more likely to become fatigued. When you become physically depleted of energy, you’re more likely to sustain an injury

Tip: Prioritize healthy eating and practice good sleep hygiene, especially before game day, to ensure that your energy levels are in a good place. 

4. Gradually intensify your training

Jumping into a new training program too fast can cause foot and ankle problems. Progressing too quickly(when your body isn’t accustomed to that level of intensity) increases your risk for muscle strains, tendonitis, bursitis, and stress fractures.

Ease into your training if you’re trying a new sport, you’ve taken a long break from sports or working out, or if you’re recovering from an injury.

5. Never skip a warm-up

Warming up prepares your body for the training session or game. Specifically, warm-ups raise your body temperature, increase blood flow to your muscles, and preps your cardiovascular system. Don’t forget to stretch your feet and ankles too! 

Warm-ups don’t just affect your cardiovascular system though. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, they can reduce your risk of injury too. 

6. Alternate your workouts 

High-impact workouts can take a toll on your feet and ankles. High-impact exercises place a heavy strain on your feet. This includes high-impact interval training (HIIT), any exercise with jumping, running, and sports that involve running or jumping. High-impact activities like these place stress on your weight-bearing joints, like your knees, ankles, and hips. Poor form during jumping can also increase your risk of rolling your ankle. If your sport requires a lot of jumping, practice proper form during your training sessions.

To reduce your risk of injury, consider alternating high-impact activities with low-impact activities. Walking, swimming and yoga are low-impact options.

Don’t ignore a foot or ankle sports injury

While many sports injuries benefit from the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), it’s important to let Dr. Anderson know if your ankle or foot is hurt. He may suggest additional treatment options, many of which are conservation. This includes physical therapy, custom orthotics, splints or casts, and corticosteroid injections. Getting the proper treatment promptly enables you to return quicker (and safely!) to the playing field.

To learn more about sports injury care or prevention, give us a shout! Call our office at 801-752-0457 or try our online booking tool.

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