Footcare Tricks Every Athlete Should Know

Mar 02, 2024
Footcare Tricks Every Athlete Should Know
Athletes of all levels depend on strong, healthy feet to perform at their best. Here, learn a few simple tips that can help you give your feet the extra care and attention they need to stay healthy and free from pain and injuries.

The foot is a complex structure comprising dozens of bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, all of which must “work” together to help you walk, run, and perform many other functions. 

When your feet feel good, it’s easy to take them for granted. But if you lead an active lifestyle, it’s also easy to injure your feet, developing painful symptoms that can interfere with even the simplest daily activities.

Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, and the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, offer complete foot care and sports injury treatment for athletes of all levels (and non-athletes, too). In this post, learn some simple tips that can help you keep your feet in good shape while reducing the risk of injuries, too.

Invest in your footwear

When buying shoes, look for footwear designed for the stresses and strains of your specific sport. Tailoring your shoe choice ensures your feet are protected and supported to reduce the risk of injury, and it can help you play better, too

… and your socks, too

Socks provide a barrier between your skin and your shoes, helping prevent painful friction.Look for socks that fit snugly, but not too tightly, made of material that wicks away moisture and lets your feet breathe. Carry extra socks with you, so you can change your socks whenever they become damp.

Warm up before activity

As an athlete, you know the importance of warming up for your major muscles — but the small muscles in your feet benefit, too. Before beginning any exercise or physical activity, stretch and flex your feet to enhance blood flow and get your feet ready for action. Warming up reduces the risk of strain and other injury, while improving overall performance, too.

Keep a foot care kit on hand

Feet benefit from a little extra care. Keep foot care essentials, like a good pair of clippers, bandages, blister preparations, corn and callus plasters, and other items geared to your needs. Having these items on hand makes it easy to give your feet the care they need without delay.

Give your feet a rest

Building in rest days in between your workouts gives your feet time to recover, and regular breaks prevent inflammation that can lead to more serious problems. While resting, elevate your feet to reduce pressure, and use an ice pack to address any soreness you might have.

Replace shoes at the first sign of wear

It can be hard to think about getting rid of a beloved pair of athletic shoes, especially after all the time you’ve spent breaking them in. But over time, shoes lose their ability to support and protect your feet, exposing them to injury.

Worn shoes don’t provide as much traction, either, leading to poor performance and an increased risk of falls. Not sure when to replace your athletic shoes? The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine offers some simple tips on their website.

Incorporate regular foot soaks

Soaking your feet in warm water helps relax tight muscles and reduce soreness and inflammation. Adding a little Epsom salts to help keep calluses and rough skin at bay.

If you can’t fit in a soak, be sure to bathe your feet after exercise, taking care to dry them thoroughly. Use an antifungal powder to keep feet dry and free from athlete’s foot and keep nails trimmed straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.

Give your feet a rub down

A simple daily massage is another way to relieve sore muscles, and it improves circulation, too. Use a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and supple, but avoid the areas between your toes, where damp skin could lead to blisters.

Use gentle circular motions along the sole, instep, heel, and ankle, paying attention to your Achilles tendon. Gentle rotate each toe to keep the joints flexible.

Pay attention to subtle signs of trouble

We saved one of the most important tips for last: If you have any foot pain, weakness, numbness, or other unusual symptoms, call the office right away, especially if the symptoms are severe, worsening, or persistent, or if they interfere with walking or other activities.

Our doctors are skilled in treating all sorts of foot problems, and early treatment not only relieves your symptoms, but helps prevent more serious problems, too. To learn how we can help you keep your feet in top shape, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists in Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut, today.