Sporting activity places greater stresses on the body's joints, bones, and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments). For example, a runner's foot, strikes the ground approximately 9500 times during a 10 km run, with a force three to four times their body rate! For this reason, injury is more likely to occur during sport than during everyday activity.
Your Podiatrist at The Gait Lodge is qualified to detect biomechanical imbalances in the lower limb and prescribe precise, computer designed and manufactured custom-made functional orthotics.
Orthotics, when worn in appropriate footwear, can help to restore optimal foot function.
General physical fitness - research has shown that more injuries occur when an athlete is fatigued. In addition, fatigue promotes poor technique.
Warm up and stretching before activity - a more effective stretch is achieved when the soft tissues have been warmed up. Therefore, a light jog should precede stretching. All major muscle groups must be stretched, with each stretch being held for at least 20 seconds.
Appropriate footwear - e.g. a running shoe should not be worn when playing tennis as it has poor 'side to side' stability, thus increasing the chance of an ankle sprain. Conversely, a tennis shoe does not provide a runner with enough cushioning and flexibility, making the runner more prone to overuse injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures.
Correctly fitted footwear - essential to avoid blisters and black toenails.
Correct training techniques
Correction of faulty foot function - structural malalignment and muscular imbalances can lead to repetitive, excessive forces being placed on the structures of the feet, legs, knees, hips and lower back. Injuries which fall into this category cannot be prevented through the above steps alone.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain under the heel of the foot, and may extend into the arch area.
The pain under the heel is worse when the person first steps out of bed in the mornings, or after sitting for long periods of time. It is relieved after walking about for a few minutes, then returns towards the end of the day. Resting will ease the pain, until you get up and walk again. X-Rays may show a small spur.
Over pronation (rolling inwards of foot) is the most common cause as it lowers the arch of the foot and stretches the plantar fascia, causing inflammation at its attachment to the heel bone. Heel spurs can develop at this attachment if left untreated for long periods.
Plantar fasciitis is best treated by supporting the arch of the foot and controlling pronation (rolling inwards of the foot) during walking. This can be achieved by using temporary padding and strapping, premade arch supports, or by having a custom made device made for your feet. Treating the underlying cause of the symptoms also allows simple anti-inflammatory treatment to be more effective. RICE or anti-inflammatory medication combined with stretching is also an important aspect of treatment.