Protect Your Foot & Ankle
With the summer season upon us, athletes of all levels—from triathlon participants to rec league softball players—are vulnerable to foot and ankle pain. Sports that involve jumping, uneven surfaces or lateral motion present an increased injury risk, especially if the participant has sustained previous injuries. High-risk activities may include:
- Hiking: From acute injury to repetitive stress conditions, uneven terrain over long distances leaves hikers susceptible to a variety of lower limb problems.
- Baseball and softball: There’s no doubt that the lower body takes a beating during baseball and softball. Injuries are especially common when players are sliding between bases or fielding balls on uneven surfaces. In addition, improperly fitted cleats can cause forefoot pain and other foot problems.
- Running: If you’re used to working out on a treadmill during cold weather, returning to the asphalt can lead to heel pain, tendonitis—or even a stress fracture.
- Tennis and soccer: The side-to-side movement required during tennis and soccer is physically demanding for ankle joints, and commonly leads to sprains, strains and twists of varying severities.
While foot and ankle injuries cannot be entirely avoided, Kayal Orthopaedic Center’s foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Chad. W. Rappaport, DPM, FACFAS, encourages summer athletes to keep safety in mind as they’re training, playing, and enjoying the sunshine.To reduce your chances of NJ foot injury, remember the following tips:
- Condition your body year round. Foot and ankle injuries occur more often in athletes who lay low all winter and attack the pavement as the weather warms. Unfortunately, deconditioned bodies are often ill-prepared to return to activity after a seasonal hiatus, and are more vulnerable to injury. If you are returning to exercise after a lengthy break, remember to start slow and work your way back to intensity over time.
- Select high-quality shoes. Your footwear greatly influences the health of your feet, and properly fitted shoes are especially important during physical activity. High-quality footwear should include adequate arch support, insole cushioning and toebox space. If you’re experiencing pain related to your footwear, a visit to your NJ podiatrist can help. Some New Jersey foot pain patients may also require orthotics to improve balance and ensure correct foot positioning.
- Support your feet and ankles. Serious and recreational athletes who have experienced an ankle sprain or other foot injury should support feet and ankles during activity. A lace-up, neoprene or plastic brace can help to stabilize the lower extremities and prevent a repeat strain. Your NJ podiatrist may also recommend physio athletic tape to help to stabilize weak ankles and provide gentle compression after mild injury.
- Get a medical opinion. While many people embrace the “no pain, no gain” theory when it comes to their favorite sport or fitness activity, it does not serve them well. If you encounter swelling that hasn’t resolved in a couple of days, or ongoing foot & ankle pain that lasts for a couple of weeks, it’s time to visit your New Jersey foot and ankle doctor. Other signs that you need to see the podiatrist include: throbbing, stiffness, tingling, numbness, burning, or red, infected areas. Remember: If you experience an acute injury that renders you unable to put weight on your foot, or unable to get relief from severe pain and swelling, an ER visit is in order.
Kayal Orthopaedic Center podiatrist, Dr. Chad W. Rappaport, specializes in foot and ankle pain and immobility due to sports injuries, medical conditions, overuse and inappropriate footwear. To schedule a consultation or inquire about insurance coverage for your foot pain or ankle condition, contact Kayal Orthopaedic team via email or telephone today! Dr. Rappaport serves Bergen County, Passaic County and the surrounding area at Kayal Orthopaedic’s Franklin Lakes and Glen Rock locations, and performs surgical procedures at Valley Hospital, Hackensack Medical Center, Chilton Hospital and Patient Care Associates.