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Martin Foot & Ankle

Protect Your Flippers: Avoiding Swimmer Foot Problems

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Swimming is typically classified as a summer fun activity, but if you’re a regular or competitive swimmer, you know the sport can’t be confined to a single month. Indoor pools like the Lancaster Aquatic Club make training all year possible, letting you stay in shape and enjoy the sport. Since swimming is a low-impact activity, you don’t expect to suffer from foot or ankle pain—but it does happen sometimes. Swimmers need healthy feet, too.

Foot pain and swimming can be just as debilitating as it can with other sports. Motions like jumping off the blocks, pushing off the walls with flip turns, and even just the constant pointing and flexing your toes can strain your lower limbs. Foot cramps while you swim can be debilitating. Tendinitis on the top of the foot and in the Achilles is common. This can lead to heel issues, top of the foot pain, and even ankle discomfort. On top of that, pools are perfect environments for common infections like athlete’s foot and fungal nails.

So how can you avoid painful foot problems from swimming? There are several ways you can take care of your feet:

  • Stretch and warm up – Overuse and excessive toe pointing can cramp up muscles or strain tendons. Before you get in the water, warm up your feet and stretch them out.
  • Condition your feet – Regular exercises on land as well as in the pool builds up your foot strength so your lower limbs can handle more when you swim.
  • Don’t walk barefoot – Pool decks and locker rooms foster fungus. Always wear sandals or shower shoes when you walk around.
  • Take anti-fungal precautions – Dry off your lower limbs right away after swimming. Treat your feet with anti-fungal sprays and wear clean socks to protect against infections.
The more you invest in your daily foot care and your general lower limb fitness, the less likely you’ll suffer from painful problems or unpleasant infections. If you do notice issues and pain when you swim, though, don’t ignore it or put off care. Let our team at Martin Foot and Ankle in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York, PA help you address the problem. Use our online forms to connect with us, or call us directly at (717) 757-3537.
Dr. Kyle R. Yorgason
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