- Are you Guilty of Neglect?
- I know many persons involved in sport of many types, from the afternoon sweat, to fete matches, to professional level. But something that should be uppermost of the minds of sports men and women is their legs and feet. Sadly, however, neglect is usually the order of the day, until an injury occurs.
- Resist the temptation to take your lower limbs for granted, since as a sports person, your feet are your everything… Think about that hamstring, tendon, ligament injury or that sprain; certainly you don’t want to be in that position again.Our feet are geared for the activities carried out. However, if it is in excess of the norm, and proper warm up stretches and warm downs amongst other things aren’t done, you will encounter various problems.
Some Facts Worth Considering
– For each mile you run, your feet will hit the ground about 1,500 times, and with each step, your foot will absorb a force several times your body weight.
– A 155 pound man of average size, will process 112 tonnes of weight through each limb per mile.
– Feet can and do fall prey to injury and disease; so the pounding of the pavement, the discomfort of badly fitting shoes, or the germs of communal changing rooms are all threats to your feet well-being.
The onus is on you to protect and maintain your feet, to ensure or eliminate the risk of corns, plantar warts (fish eyes), blisters, and athlete’s foot to name a few. The following are some other areas of great importance to channel your focus:
• Each sporting discipline has shoes designed for it for a purpose. Ensure you use the correct type for the said sport; inappropriate shoes can lead to injuries. The different shoes have certain features to cushion your feet, which provide shock absorption and a firm heel counter for stability. Some will also have ankle support, for sports involving many changes of direction. Always seek professional advice and don’t purchase based on popularity, colour or design.
• Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too small in length makes no sense. It cannot be overemphasised that your shoes should fit properly. You can use one thumb’s breadth between the end of your longest toe, and the end of your shoe as a guide.
• Laces or velcro were put on the shoes for a reason. Fasten your shoes; this design was done to ensure the foot is properly supported and to help prevent injuries.
• Make sure that where the shoe bends, coincides with where your foot bends. This should be around the ball of your foot, where your toes meet the foot. This allows for proper flexion and extension.
• Always wear good quality, well-fitting, breathable socks; tight socks can be as bad as tight shoes, since they can cut off circulation.
• Try not to wear your sports socks and trainers everyday. Our feet sweat naturally, like the rest of the body
during exercise, and this is absorbed into the sock and trainer. It takes longer than overnight for this moisture to dry out, so try to alternate shoes and wear clean socks daily. Wearing clean socks daily is critical in ensuring you don’t develop athlete’s foot.
• If your feet are particularly sweaty, consider the use of special absorbent insoles, foot sprays, /powders, or the application of surgical spirit. Alternatively, if your feet are particularly dry, using a moisturiser/foot cream would help.
• If you are prone to blisters, make sure that the inside of your shoe fits correctly, and is well cushioned all around and is not worn.
• Finally, remember that our feet and legs need training and looking after. Again always allow enough time to warm up and warm down before and after exercise. Do not attempt to do too much too soon, as your feet and legs will get tired and be predisposed to injury. Do different types of exercise every day.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!