Even more so if you play sport or have an active hobby!
In general, we are pretty rubbish at looking after our feet – and yet we expect them to perform tasks such as running, dancing, jumping and sprinting – and all without so much as a protest or god forbid..an injury! There are 26 bones in each foot, 4 layers of muscles, and numerous ligaments and other soft tissue structures all working together to perform these tasks. Amazing!
However, a fact of life is that we WILL incur injuries to our feet (and other parts of our body) if we do not prepare them for sport properly. This means paying your feet the attention they deserve.
General tips are:
- Perform basic foot care and hygiene; wash and dry feet daily, and especially after sports to prevent fungal infections. Keep toenails short, but never cut down the sides of the toenails.
- Wear good quality socks – avoid 100% cotton as they will hold the moisture to your skin and cause blistering. Synthetic fibres mixed with wool or silk are better.
- Correct footwear is essential for sporting activities – make sure the shoe is designed for the activity you are doing. E.g. running shoes should have very flexible soles, but shoes for tennis, netball, badminton etc are much stiffer as they need to provide sideways support to the foot.
- Warm up and stretch BEFORE and AFTER sport – ALWAYS!! This prepares the body for the activity and prevents injury.
If you do have a minor injury, remember R-I-C-E; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This will reduce swelling and heal the injury much quicker than ignoring it.
Seek a Podiatrist for foot injuries or skin/toenail problems. An ingrowing toenail can ruin a sporting season if it is not treated properly! Podiatry also covers gait analysis which looks at how you walk. Orthotics can be prescribed to help when the foot is not functioning properly, which can lead to knee, hip and back pain.
Above all – respect your feet!
Clare Johnson is an experienced podiatrist working in Abergavenny. Contact her on 01873 852002 or visit: www.clarejohnsonpodiatrist.co.uk
Clare Johnson – Podiatrist