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What Does a Sports Podiatrist Do? Helping Athletes Avoid Foot Injuries

Who is a Sports Podiatrist?

A sports podiatrist is a healthcare professional who specialises in treating and preventing injuries related to the foot, ankle, and lower limbs that occur during sports and physical activities. They are experts in managing common foot problems, improving athletic performance, and reducing injury risks.

Knowing what a sports podiatrist does is important for any athlete who wants to stay in top shape.

At our clinic, we focus on quickly diagnosing and treating injuries like sprains, fractures, and tendonitis, as well as ongoing problems such as plantar fasciitis, to help you get back to your activities safely and swiftly.

We also analyse how you walk and move to find any issues that might cause injuries or affect your performance, then customise treatments to keep you performing at your best.

With our expertise, you’re not just getting back to the game; you’re playing better than ever.

Common Foot Injuries Athletes Face

Athletes often suffer from foot and lower limb injuries because of the heavy strain and impact from their sports.

Here are some typical foot injuries and how they can impact an athlete's performance.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

This condition happens when the thick tissue connecting the heel to the toes along the bottom of the foot becomes damaged.

It usually causes sharp pain that is often worse when taking the first steps in the morning or after sitting for a long time. It can also lead to more constant pain under the heel and up into the arch of the foot as the condition gets worse.

Plantar fasciitis can greatly affect an athlete's ability to run, jump, and make quick movements. The pain can restrict how well they push off with their feet and move around, slowing them down and decreasing their agility.

2. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is when the tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel becomes inflamed. This usually happens due to ongoing stress on the tendon, often worsened by quickly increasing how often or intensely you exercise.

This injury can cause pain and swelling around the heel, making it difficult for athletes to run. Over time, if the condition persists, the tendon can weaken and might even tear, possibly requiring surgery and a long time to heal.

3. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks in a bone, often found in the bones of the foot and lower leg that bear weight. These fractures typically result from continuous stress, like frequent jumping or long-distance running.

Stress fractures cause intense pain and need a lot of rest to heal, forcing athletes to take a significant break from training. This downtime can affect their physical fitness and may even disrupt their season or career if not handled correctly.

4. Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain happens when the ligaments that hold the ankle in place are stretched too far and tear. These sprains are categorised from mild to severe based on how badly the ligaments are damaged.

Even a mild sprain can make the ankle less stable, raise the chance of hurting it again, and make it hard to perform actions like sharp turns, jumps, or sprints. More serious sprains might require several weeks to months of rehab to heal properly.

5. Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is when the ball of the foot becomes inflamed and painful. There are a number of possible causes including overloading the joints of the forefoot, ill-fitting footwear and can be exacerbated by foot deformities.

Athletes with metatarsalgia often feel pain when loading onto the front of the foot in walking, running and jumping. They may also experience swelling in the forefoot that could impact their speed, agility, and comfort during performance.

How Sports Podiatrists Prevent Injuries

Injury prevention is essential in sports medicine, particularly for athletes who heavily rely on their physical capabilities. Sports podiatrists use various methods to prevent injuries by focusing on biomechanical issues and improving physical fitness.

Custom Orthotics

Custom Orthotics are shoe inserts tailored to fit the unique contours and biomechanical needs of an individual's feet, made from precise foot scans.

Orthotics help align the foot and ankle bones, correct walking patterns, reduce body strain, and evenly distribute foot pressure. This helps prevent injuries like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and stress fractures.

Footwear Advice

Choosing the right footwear is crucial, particularly in sports involving running, jumping, or quick lateral movements.

Proper shoes can absorb shocks, support natural foot structure, and improve alignment, which helps prevent injuries. Using incorrect or old shoes is a common cause of sports injuries.

Targeted Exercises

This includes exercises aimed at strengthening, stretching, and improving proprioception (sense of body position) for better foot and ankle stability.

Strength exercises build muscles around the foot and ankle, stretching maintains flexibility, and proprioceptive exercises improve balance and coordination—all vital for injury prevention.

Preventive Screening and Regular Check-ups

Routine evaluations by a sports podiatrist assess the condition of an athlete's feet and lower limbs.

Early detection of potential problems allows for timely interventions, preventing minor issues from developing into severe injuries.

If you are suffering with foot and lower limb injuries, a thorough consultation with a healthcare provider is crucial for a correct diagnosis and effective treatment planning.

Our team is here to help you navigate the complexities of athletes foot injuries and provide personalised care.

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