As an athlete, you know the importance of training regimens, proper nutrition, and mental preparation to achieve peak performance. But when was the last time you gave attention to your feet?
Believe it or not, the condition of your feet plays a significant role in your performance — no matter your sport. And at The Foot & Ankle Specialists, Lisa Burson, DPM, and Joe Aoun, DPM, specialize in sports medicine to make taking care of your feet simpler.
Read on to learn more about links between healthy feet and better athletic performance, and how to keep your feet in top shape for every season.
Healthy feet: the root of better athletic performance
Your feet are the foundation of your body. Strong, healthy feet give you better stability and balance with every movement, and that translates to enhanced performance during athletic activities.
Whether you’re a solo athlete or play team sports, your foot health matters. Sports require repetitive impact on your feet and joints. Healthy feet with strong arches and flexible ligaments act as natural shock absorbers, reducing the stress on your ankles, knees, and hips.
Your feet also play a key role in proprioception. Proprioception is your body's awareness of its position in space, and healthy feet make it easier to execute precise movements and adjustments, especially in sports that require agility and quick changes in direction.
And if you’ve ever suffered foot pain, you know that issues like plantar fasciitis and blisters can sideline athletes. Taking a proactive approach to your foot health can lower your risk of injury and help you stay pain-free during your activities.
Tips to keep your feet healthy as an athlete
There’s a lot you can do to promote and maintain healthy feet. Dr. Burson and Dr. Aoun provide comprehensive podiatric care for athletes, and a few of the strategies we recommend are:
Choose the right footwear
One of the best things you can do for your foot health is investing in proper athletic shoes. Get a professional fitting to make sure the shoes fit properly and provide the right support and cushioning specific to your sport.
If you have specific foot conditions or imbalances, we might recommend over-the-counter insoles or custom orthotic inserts to provide extra support and alignment. Remember to replace your shoes and inserts when they begin to show signs of wear.
Warm up and stretch
Don’t overlook the importance of warming up and stretching your feet. Include foot-specific exercises and stretches in your pre-workout routine. Ankle circles, toe stretches, and calf stretches can all help improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injuries.
After workouts, stretch your feet along with the rest of your body. Consider adding foot massage with a tennis ball or foam roller to release tension and support recovery.
Maintain good foot hygiene
Cleanliness is essential for optimal foot health. Wash your feet daily, dry them thoroughly, and always wear clean socks. Keep your toenails trimmed to prevent infections and ingrown toenails, and remember to wear sandals or shoes in public spaces like locker rooms and showers.
Listen to your feet
Last but not least, pay attention to any signs of foot discomfort or pain. Ignoring foot pain puts you at risk of more serious injury, so reach out to our team for help at the first sign of discomfort. Dr. Burson and Dr. Aoun can evaluate your symptoms and help you find the most effective course of treatment.
They’re often overlooked — but your feet are integral to your athletic performance. Take a proactive approach to foot health at The Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bay City, Caro, and Lapeer, Michigan. Call the office nearest you, or request an appointment online to get started.