Many of us welcome spring as a time to renew our passion for the outdoors and outdoor sports. Prevent indoor and outdoor sports injuries by following a few simple tips. Our caring podiatrists, Joseph DiMenna, DPM, David DiMenna, DPM, and Joseph Bakanas, DPM, at the Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey in Cherry Hill can diagnose and help ease your pain.
Play by these rules to avoid injury
Sports injuries usually hit a little harder than other ones due to the physical challenges involved. Protect yourself and your loved ones by following some common-sense guidelines.
Tip One: Warm up and cool down your muscles
It’s crucial to warm up your muscles and tendons before engaging in any sport. Also, remember to cool down afterward to slow your heartbeat and return your body temperature to normal.
- Slowly stretch until you feel a slight tension in your muscles
- Hold each stretch for around 30 seconds
- If you feel any pain, release the stretch
- Cooldown by jogging in place and stretching
We advise stretching after your workout to help cool your body down and reduce the buildup of lactic acid to prevent stiffness and cramping.
Tip Two: Stay hydrated
You should ideally drink at least eight glasses of water per day and more when you’re participating in sports, especially in warmer weather.
- Drink two cups of fluids beforehand
- Consume 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes, so your muscles remain hydrated
- Drink water or fruit juice diluted with water afterward. Or try low or no-sugar sports drinks to replace lost electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and magnesium).
Tip three: Dress for the part
Avoid unnecessary injuries by wearing the proper equipment and correct fitting shoes to support your foot and ankle.
Tip four: Develop a plan
To keep your body in tip-top shape, in addition to playing your favorite sports, our doctors recommend incorporating strength training with weights plus exercises that strengthen your heart, such as aerobics, power walking, or jogging, to reduce injury and remain healthy.
Tip five: Listen to your body
We all get caught up in the game. Just remember to listen to your body, as well. When you’re too tired to go on, don’t. Take time out. Otherwise, you could become more injury-prone and too physically and mentally drained to make the right moves.
Listen to your feet
Always wear proper-fitting shoes to avoid injury. We recommend:
- Your shoes provide good support in front and under the arch
- The heels are stable
- You choose shoes with sufficient cushioning
- You always wear shoes fashioned for your specific sport
Additional tips to avoid new twists this spring
Remain on the right path. We recommend you avoid running on rocky terrain where it’s difficult to keep your footing. The best path for running is generally smooth dirt or the proper flooring rather than concrete.
Cross-train. Try different activities to build a variety of muscles.
Never play through pain. It’s so much better to take a break than to risk breaking something.
Take time out. Relax at least one or two days per week and one month per year for each sport to allow your body to recover.
Remember to RICE. If you injure your ankle or foot, try RICE therapy:
If that doesn’t relieve your pain or injury, contact one of our expert podiatrists at the Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey to discuss any foot-related problems. We can recommend prescription orthotics, physical therapy, and more to get you back in the game in time for summer. Simply call or book an appointment online.