Playing sports can put a lot of stress on your body and some body parts get more abuse than others. Regardless of which type of sport you play, chances are good that your feet and ankles are going to be put under a lot of stress as you move back and forth across the court or field. If you want to keep your feet and ankles healthy, so you can keep playing your favorite sport all season long, here are some tips that might help.
Proper Shoe Fit is Everything
Most adults grow into a certain shoe size and then use that same size for the rest of their life. But if you are wearing specialty shoes like football shoes or basketball shoes, you might need a slightly different shoe size than what you would normally wear for your dress shoes or tennis shoes. If your shoes do not fit properly, your feet and, in particular, your ankles will not be properly stabilized. If it's been a while since you've really thought about your shoes, go to a local shoe store and try on different sizes near what you currently wear to ensure you are indeed wearing the best fit possible.
Replace Shoes Sooner Rather Than Later
As you play your favorite sport, the tread on the bottom of the shoe is going to start showing signs of wear and tear. Think of it like you might for your car: you wouldn't keep driving down the road in a car with tires that have zero tread left, would you? Pay closer attention to not just your shoe fit but the condition of the shoes. If it's getting late in the season and your shoes are falling apart, don't just try to skate by for the last few games or the playoffs. Get a new pair of shoes that will protect both your feet and ankles and might also help your performance during the latter part of the season.
Stretch It Out
Most athletes do at least a little stretching before the big game, but too often these stretches are limited to the arms and legs. Don't forget to stretch your feet and ankles. Do an ankle roll to limber up the area. Put your foot up on its heel and then lean forward to touch your toe. Always start with a light jog before you begin to run.
If you encounter any problems with your feet or ankles during the season contact a podiatric sports medicine professional.