Believe it or not, you don’t have to play contact sports to sustain an injury. An estimated 8.6 million sports- and recreation-related injuries occur each year, and general exercise is the most frequently mentioned cause. Of these injuries, 42% affect the lower body, and one of the most common injuries involves the ankle. But you don’t have to ditch your favorite activities just to avoid getting hurt.
As a board-certified podiatrist, Dr. John Jurcisin at Precision Footcare suggests taking these simple steps so you can safely hit the track, tennis court, soccer field — or whatever activity you love best — without getting a foot or ankle injury.
When it comes to protecting your feet and ankles, it’s crucial to have the right footwear and to replace them regularly to ensure proper support.
First, look for shoes designed specifically for the sport you play. Then, pick the ones that offer good support under the arch and in the toe. The best shoes should provide stability and correct any foot issues you may have, like high arches or flat feet. Dr. Jurcisin can make personalized recommendations based on your unique needs.
It’s easy to ignore a short warm-up and head straight to the main event. But taking 2-3 minutes to stretch or slowly jog before beginning your activity helps get your muscles ready.
When you jump into an activity without warming up first, you increase your chances of tears and strains because cold muscles have less flexibility. By warming them up, it’s easier for your muscles to absorb quick movements. Similarly, stretch or jog slowly at the end of your activity for 2-3 minutes to help your muscles cool down safely.
It’s hard to pace yourself when it comes to sports and exercise, but pushing yourself too hard and too quickly is a sure way to sustain an injury — especially if you’re a weekend warrior.
Remember, more isn’t necessarily better! Instead, take your time and start slowly, gradually building up your activity level. This approach will help strengthen your muscles and prepare them for action. It’s also important to rest regularly and stop what you’re doing immediately if you notice pain or discomfort. And, when you resume activity after recovering, ease yourself back into it slowly to avoid reinjury.
If you have a history of foot or ankle injuries, you have higher chances of reinjuring yourself in the future, especially if you had a sprained or strained ankle. To avoid reinjury, Dr. Jurcisin might recommend taking additional steps, such as:
Dr. Jurcisin can also help identify any issues you may have in your foot or ankle that increases your risk of strains, sprains, or other sports-related injuries.
For more tips on avoiding a sports injury, contact our convenient location in Midtown East, New York by calling 212-750-8344 or by booking an appointment online today.