If you’re a track and field athlete, you know how much punishment your feet and ankles take on a regular basis. They’re constantly absorbing large amounts of force and impact, and many times you don’t realize just how much of a beating they take until you experience pain, blisters, swelling, plantar fasciitis, or even stress fractures due to repeated contact with hard surfaces.
While it’s obvious that rigorous training comes with the territory, what can you do to take care of your feet and avoid injuries that could possibly sideline you for days or even weeks? Below are some tips to help you get your feet and ankles safely through track and field conditioning.
- Wear shoes that are designed to support your particular activity. Improper footwear is one of the main culprits behind foot and ankle pain, so do your best to pick shoes that are appropriate for your particular foot type and foot mechanics. Stop by your local specialty running shoe store and talk with a knowledgeable staff member who can help you select a running shoe that will provide the right support for your foot type. You’ll quickly discover that your shoes are indeed your most important piece of equipment.
- Cross-train by adding exercises to your training regimen that will complement your running. Exercise physiologists overwhelmingly agree that this is one of the best ways to keep your feet healthy. When you add exercises that improve your posture, enhance flexibility, and recruit more muscle groups, it prevents overcompensation in other areas of your body (namely the feet), which will make a huge difference in your foot and ankle health. Some good exercises to add to your training include swimming, cycling, Pilates, and definitely stretching.
- Don’t forget to manage your toenails! As humorous as it may sound, this can be a major cause of all kinds of foot problems. Be sure to keep your toenails clipped, and file down callouses when you get out of the shower. Also, avoid cotton socks, and go with synthetic socks that can control moisture, which will in turn control blisters.
Your track and field training regimen is hard enough. Make it as easy on your feet as possible by putting these important foot and ankle care tips into practice.