As an athlete, your feet are your foundations for success in your chosen sport. The 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments present in each foot are responsible for working together to produce healthy, stable movement. And a lot of the time, this movement will be strenuous – high impact forces on the feet, rapid changes in direction, quick decelerations and accelerations, high jumps – you name it.
With such high demands on the feet and legs comes the need for great care and attention. This is why professional teams and individual athletes across NJ are ensuring that they have a trusted sports podiatrist on their team to help them through both challenges and their general day-to-day.
Why A Sports Podiatrist?
A sports podiatrist has a comprehensive understanding and additional skills in knowing the demands placed on your feet and body from the specific movements and techniques required across a variety of different sports. While you may see the way your foot hits the ground, your sports podiatrist has an ‘eagle eye’ that sees the way that the reaction forces travel up through your foot, ankle and lower leg, as well as how the biomechanics of your feet withstand this.
Sports podiatrists work one-on-one with athletes, as well as providing guidance and care for professional teams. Many individuals that are enthusiastic about getting into sports and becoming better also work with a sports podiatrist to see immense benefits in a short timeframe. Sports podiatrists add great value regardless of whether you’re currently in your athletic prime, or whether you’ve had a break due to injury, pregnancy, surgery or personal reasons.
Here are five of the many reasons that athletes benefit from working with a qualified podiatrist
Improve Your Performance
The way you perform at your chosen sport is highly influenced by your foot and leg biomechanics, meaning the way that all of your joints, muscles and tissues move together with every step you take. It’s very common for us to detect small variations in a person’s gait and their foot biomechanics that may result in early muscle fatigue or aches, less energy efficiency, reduced output, and an overall impaired performance on the sports field.
Your podiatrist can help address all of these factors by completing a comprehensive assessment that involves a video gait analysis, pressure analysis, muscle strength and range of motion testing, foot posture assessment, and more. As your feet and your shoes make a team that should give you a solid, stable base, it’s also important to assess your gait in your shoes and understand the influence that your shoes are having on your performance, and where the areas of improvement lie. The result is better performance on your chosen sports field.
Address Factors that May Help Reduce Your Injury Risk
It is really important to have a thorough understanding of the demands placed on your body and your lower limbs from your chosen sport, and viewing this in light of your personal characteristics to implement preparation programs that may help reduce your risk of injury.
Podiatrists have a wide range of tools in their toolbelt to help implement preparation programs including exercise programs to address specific musculoskeletal factors such as muscle tightness or joint stiffness. Podiatrists may also use custom foot orthotics that can alter your foot biomechanics or make custom modifications to your footwear to help address factors that may contribute to pain or injury.
Ensure You Have The Best Foundations For Success
While it’s very valuable to have your gait analyzed and your biomechanics assessed, it’s also important to consider your feet who have been through a lot of training, trials and shoes prior to first meeting your podiatrist. For most athletes we see, their hard work hasn’t come without cost – and one of these costs is the health of their skin and toenails.
We see many athletes with the fungal skin condition Athlete’s foot, corns or calluses on their heels or the balls of their feet (often both) and around their toes, macerated soft corns between their toes, plantar warts that have arisen again during training stress, hammertoes from tight sports shoes, thickened and discoloured toenails – just to name a few. All of these can have an impact on your foot health and sports performance, and all of which we can help with – often in just a single appointment with instant relief when it comes to things like corns, calluses and cracks in the heels.
By having your skin and nails professionally cared for, you can be sure that you have the best foundations to set you up for success.
Recover From Injury, Pain or Surgery
A big part of what our podiatrists do is support an effective recovery from foot and leg pain. This is what our sports podiatrists are best known for, especially with the use of innovative tools such as shockwave therapy where appropriate. For every injury, we complete a comprehensive biomechanical assessment to understand exactly what has occurred, how it happened, and why it could happen. We’ll then put together an evidence-based management plan to help you recover optimally, keeping in mind your athletic goals, training schedule, and your active lifestyle. Your podiatrist stays with you along the way, adjusting your plan as needed based on your progress and results, always working to support you and keep you on the best track at every visit.
For some athletes, surgery is also a very big reality. For some, this surgery is planned in advance and our podiatrists can work to help you prepare to have a smooth recovery. For others, surgery is sudden and unexpected following an in-sport collision or other event, and our goal is to help you recover both to your full capacity and efficiently too, as we know how important it is for you to get back to your team or your chosen sport.
Your Personal Trusted Advisor
Another reason why having a podiatrist is valuable to athletes is simply that there’s a lot about the feet that is unknown to most people. The feet, the gait cycle and lower limb biomechanics are very complex fields that keep us as podiatrists constantly learning, every week, throughout our careers. New information is released regularly that overrides what was previously known, and instead provides new best-practice approaches or treatment guidelines. There’s a lot to keep up with – and it’s our job to do this. So having a podiatrist means you get access to all of this knowledge, advice and guidance any time you need it. And you know that your podiatrist is also committed to you, and helping you get the very best outcomes in your sport.
Ready to work with a podiatrist you can trust? Our team is here to help, and are trusted by athletes (as well as weekend warriors) all across New Jersey. Book your appointment today by calling one of our offices in Toms River or Belleville