Preventing many different types of athletic injuries begins with a combination of proper warm-up, conditioning and careful attention to technique. Because the feet and ankles are subject to high performance in a variety of sports, they are susceptible to injury.
Our foot and ankle team offers the most advanced injury care in the Portland and SW Washington area, using the latest treatment techniques while also providing injury prevention guidance. Learn our team’s tips on how to best prevent foot and ankle injuries below.
Foot and Ankle Injury Prevention Tips
- Warm Up – Whether you’re casually shooting hoops or participating in a competitive sporting match, warming up is an important first step in injury prevention. Warming and stretching your muscles, as well as preparing the many bones and joints the foot and ankle are comprised of, for exercise will increase performance, too. A warm-up could include a combination of light jogging and stretching.
- Strengthen & Condition – Regularly conditioning the muscles and joints in your feet and ankles typically involves targeted strengthening exercises and stretching. Conditioning is a gradual process that helps you build muscle, improve balance, increase flexibility and range of motion, and stabilize your joints to avoid injury.
- Protect Your Feet – Your feet are your foundation, and to perform well in activities, they need footwear that corresponds with the activity. The right shoe will provide support, comfort and withstand the physical demands of the sport. Along with the right strength training, a proper athletic shoe has the ability to help prevent injuries like sprains, stress fractures and tendinitis. It’s also important to replace shoes once the heal or tread has been worn down. Learn how to find the proper fit for your sport and foot type by checking out our tips here.
- Start Slow – If you aren’t regularly engaged in sports or don’t maintain a consistent fitness routine, gradually increasing your activity level is recommended. Playing a sport at a high intensity level (particularly sports with excessive running, jumping, and cutting) or running long distance after a long period of inactivity, places a lot of stress on the unconditioned muscles and joints in the feet. When you don’t ease into activity, you’re more likely to sustain a sprain, strain or stress fracture.
- Be Wary of Your Surface – Running or training on uneven surfaces increases the likelihood of injury. Exercise caution when running along nature trails (loose debris, obstructed terrain, etc.), uphill and downhill.
- Don’t Push Through Pain – Listening to your body is crucial. If you experience pain while active or lingering pain, seek medical attention. Pushing through pain could lead to injury or worsen an existing injury.
At Rebound, our fellowship trained experts provide personalized treatment plans and injury prevention regimens for our patients.
Learn more about common sports-related foot and ankle injuries here, and see our other foot and ankle resources below.