Since your feet and ankles support your body weight whenever you walk, run, or move, caring for them properly is important to keep you pain-free and on your feet for years to come. Avoid common injuries like ankle sprains and Achilles tendonitis, the inflammation of your Achilles' tendon, with a foot and ankle care routine! Injuries may not happen immediately, but they can happen over time by avoiding preventative after and creating bad habits. During the COVID-19 crisis, more people are venturing outdoors to enjoy the spring weather and be active during the quarantine.
This blog outlines steps everyone can take to avoid future injuries. Read on to discover 4 foot and ankle care tips to avoid a potential injury:
1. Wear proper shoes.
Don’t underestimate the importance of wearing the appropriate footwear for your sport or level of everyday activity like walking around your house! Your shoes should fit well and be designed for the amount of wear and tear that you’ll be putting them through. Some of our favorite, high-quality footwear brands for active individuals include Aetrex, Altra Running, and Vionic. By wearing shoes specifically designed for the impact that your activity or sport has on your feet, you can lower your risk of damaging them!
2. Make stretching and mobility a routine.
Poor ankle mobility is a recipe for disaster when it comes to exercising! Ankle mobility, or the flexibility of your ankle joints, muscles, and tendons, is critical for a fuller range of motion and better performance. By incorporating some stretches, like ankle circles and static lunges, into your weekly routine, you can improve your mobility and your strength. Don’t know where to start? Check out these 12 stretches to improve ankle mobility.
3. Change your socks and shoes when they're damp.
As you're active throughout the day, your feet may sweat, making your socks and shoes damp. Damp feet provide the perfect environment for fungal infections to grow. When your feet sweat, it's in your best interest to change your socks and/or shoes to avoid any infections—such as tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete's foot, and onychomycosis, which a is toenail fungus. Changing out of damp socks can also help you avoid getting blisters when your feet are sliding about. For those on their feet often, we recommend purchasing several pairs of moisture-wicking socks to swap out as needed.
Last but certainly not least, if you’re an athlete who engages in a high-impact sport like running or basketball, consider cross-training—training in ways that aren’t your primary sport—to engage in low-impact exercise that allows your feet and ankles to rest and recover. By cross-training, you can increase your strength and endurance while minimizing the risk of overusing your feet and ankles. This is also relevant to people who aren’t active regularly. Repeatedly training the same muscles, like having leg day every day, isn’t what’s best for your body. Some examples of low-impact exercises include strength training, swimming, and riding a stationary bike.
These four tips only brush the surface of the foot and ankle care needed for a healthy, active lifestyle. Implementing these tips is a great start to a foot and ankle care routine. If you currently are suffering from foot or ankle pain or ever find yourself affected in the future, our doctors are equipped to help diagnose the issue and resolve it. You should never wait too long before consulting a doctor about pain or discomfort because it may lead to worsening problems in the future. Call us at (717) 757-3537 to schedule an in-person appointment or change an existing appointment to a telemedicine visit. To keep our patients safe during the COVID-19 crisis, we’re currently offering telemedicine consultations via video call to limit face-to-face contact while still providing care.