How to Reduce Foot Injury Risk

It’s almost paradoxical that one of the best things you can do for your body—exercise—is also something that can put you at risk for injury. Given the fact we rely on our lower limbs for mobility, feet and ankles have a particularly high risk factor. The good news, though, is that we can often treat injuries with conservative treatment. Even better, there are ways you can reduce foot injury risk.

There are numerous possible injuries you can sustain while exercising or participating in favorite sporting activities. Typically, the most common ones tend to be soft tissue injuries. Bone fractures certainly happen during sports, but tendon and muscle problems occur in greater frequency. Whereas fractures are typically acute injuries (except stress fractures), most soft tissue injuries are caused by overuse. You can lower your risk by:

  1. Changing where you run. Avoiding harder surfaces and sticking to softer ones when running will reduce the amount of strain on your plantar fascia (which causes plantar fasciitis). As a result, running trails and tracks are better options than taking to the sidewalks and streets for your training.
  2. Wearing the appropriate shoes. To reduce your risk of injury during physical activity, make sure you wear the appropriate footwear. Wearing a pair of well-constructed running shoes that feature ample arch support is a great starting point if you are a runner. The extra support will reduce how much strain the plantar fascia endures. Running shoes also have cushioning in the heel area to help absorb shock. If you are playing basketball, make sure you sport a pair of high-tops to protect your ankles and lower your odds of suffering a sprain.

    Wearing activity-appropriate footwear is absolutely essential for reducing injury risk, but it’s only part of the equation. Fit is also extremely important, so make sure your running shoes are snug (not tight) in the heel and your toes have plenty of room in the front.

  3. Using additional arch support. Sometimes, the arch support in running and athletic shoes is not enough. In cases like these, you will benefit from shoe inserts or custom orthotics. We can either prescribe orthotics or provide professional recommendations for shoe inserts to help keep you safe.
  4. Stretching before and after physical activity. Keeping your lower limbs limber, especially the calf muscles and Achilles tendons, will reduce your risk of heel pain, Achilles tendinitis, and other conditions. Our office can provide specific stretches you can perform at home that offer the best results.
  5. Focusing on your running technique. Relaxing your ankles and calves, landing with a midfoot (not heel) strike, and not pulling forward with your legs reduces your risk of this sports injury.
  6. Making the right dietary choices. Your foot bones, muscles, and connective tissues need the right nourishment to stay strong and keep you free from injury. This means eating a diet based on fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Even better, eating like this will also lower your risk for gout and peripheral arterial disease.
  7. Hydrating often. It’s no big secret that water is important for your body, so make sure to drink several cups of water (not beer or soda!) throughout the day. This can help you avoid cramps and edema in the lower limbs.

These measures all serve to reduce your risk of foot injury, but it can be difficult to completely guarantee that you won’t get hurt. If you need podiatric care, be sure to make Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic your first choice. We will diagnose your condition and provide an effective treatment plan so you can get back to your favorite sports and activities. Simply give us a call today at (801) 269-9939 if you have any questions or would like to request your appointment with us. You can also contact us online right now.

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