The Importance of Podiatrist for Sports Athletes

Podiatrists are known for treating and diagnosing conditions in the foot and ankle. To become a podiatrist, one has to complete four years of training in podiatry school and three years of hospital training. Some podiatrists in Singapore specialize in certain areas such as paediatrics, sports injuries, wound care, and diabetic care. Podiatrists can earn board certification by undergoing advanced training and taking an exam.

If you are experiencing pain in the feet or ankles, don’t join the stubborn majority refusing treatment. You should know the importance of seeing a podiatrist, especially when you are living an active lifestyle or you are an athlete.

What is a podiatrist?

Someone would seek the care of a podiatrist when they have suffered a foot injury or have common foot ailments such as heel spurs, bunions, arch problems, deformities, ingrown toenails, corns, foot and ankle problems etc. 

A common podiatric procedure a podiatrist will use is a scanner or force plate which will allow the podiatrist to know the designs of orthotics. Patients are then told to follow a series of tasks to complete the treatment. The computer will scan the foot to see which areas show weight distribution and pressure points. The podiatrist will read the analysis and then determine which treatment plans are available.

Sports-related foot injuries that need immediate treatment

Sooner or later, most athletes experience some type of foot or ankle injury. In many cases, the injuries are mild and heal with a little rest, sports injuries but sometimes, pain and limited mobility can be a problem weeks after an injury. 

Achilles tendon injuries

Tendon injuries are common if you participate in an activity that involves running or jumping. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the long tendon that connects your heel to your calf muscles becomes painfully inflamed. If you ignore the problem and don’t stay off your feet, you may eventually develop Achilles tendinosis. This condition causes tiny tears in the tendon. Achilles tendon ruptures develop when the tendon tears either partially or completely. Ultrasound therapy, physical therapy, cushioned heel cups, boots, cortisone injections and shockwave therapy are often very effective in decreasing pain and promoting healing if you have a tendon injury. If your tendon is ruptured or other treatments don’t help, you may benefit from surgery.

Ankle sprains

Sprains are generally minor injuries, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t painful. Although most sprains improve with rest, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your podiatry clinic in Singapore if you’re still in pain several weeks after your injury. Taking the pressure off the ankle with a boot and participating in physical therapy can help you recover, but you may require surgery if your ankle has become unstable.

Retrocalcaneal bursitis

Retrocalcaneal bursitis may be the source of your heel pain. Although the problem can be confused with Achilles tendinitis, the inflammation occurs in the bursa, a soft sac that helps your Achilles tendon move over the heel bone. Corticosteroid injections, physical therapy or ultrasound therapy are often helpful.

Fractures

Playing a sport that involves jumping increases your risk of fractures. You can’t always tell if you’ve fractured your foot by the level of pain you experience. If you have difficulty walking or notice that your foot is very swollen or deformed, you may have a fracture. In many cases, you should immediately go to your podiatry clinic for casts, boots and surgery. In some cases, these will help your foot heel.

Athletes are also susceptible to stress fractures, a type of fracture that develops slowly and may occur if you train too hard or too long. These small cracks in your bone are usually treated with shoe inserts or boots that take the pressure off your foot while it heals.

What you can do to take care of your athletic feet

As outdoor activity ramps up after the long quarantine, so do much foot and ankle injuries related to sports, training, and recreational activities. So, here are some simple steps you can take to avoid strains, sprains, and fractures so that you can bring your A-game this summer.

Warm-up your muscles

One of the most important steps in preventing foot injuries is getting blood flow to the muscles before you start playing sports or running. Far too many people skip this all-important first step because they are eager to jump into activity, but it doesn’t take long to do a warm-up exercise. 

Choosing the right footwear is one of the most crucial steps you can take to preventing foot and ankle injury. If your feet have low arches, look for shoes that provide support under the arch and in the front of the shoe. For high arches, your shoes should provide more cushioning and a softer platform. 

Steer clear of uneven surfaces

Rocky terrain, loose gravel, holes, and tree roots all pose a risk to your ankles. Whether you’re running, jogging, or walking on a trail, one false move can end in a painful twisted ankle. Aim for dirt roads, concrete or asphalt instead. If you are training for a marathon, try to train on the same type of surface that you’ll eventually be running on.

Tread kills carefully

 

If you’re trying to conquer that steep hill in your neighbourhood, allow yourself time to gradually build up your strength. Running or jogging up steep inclines are hard on your feet and ankles. Use extra precaution when running downhill, since running too fast downwards can often cause more injuries than running uphill. 

Use a brace or tape 

Bracing and taping are both effective ways to prevent foot/ankle injuries because they provide mechanical support, as well as increasing your awareness about how you’re moving your ankle. This is a recommended practice of podiatrists and trainers alike.

If you need immediate help, visit our website to schedule an appointment with a podiatry centre in Singapore. Let our experts help you today.