Regular exercise is essential for good health and wellbeing, but all sorts of problems arise when you don’t do it correctly and according to PT in Motion, sports and recreation-related injuries top 8.6 million annually!
Exercise injuries often occur in the feet, ankles and lower limbs as a result of a new or ongoing activity.
Happily, with the right help, you’ll know what to look out for, and that’ll go a long way to avoiding the pitfalls, so here’s our handy guide to avoid exercise injuries.
Whatever form of exercise you fancy, stretching is vital to warm up muscles, tendons and ligaments to prevent sprains and tears. Failure to do this properly will lead to tight hamstrings and calves, and plantar fasciitis can be the result.
The plantar tendon runs along the sole of the foot. Lack of adequate stretching will make it tight and less pliable than it should be. This leads to dull, throbbing pain in the heel or arch. It can be minor or more severe but either way, you’ll feel it with every step.
Tight calf muscles can also affect the Achilles tendon. This connects the heel bone to your calf muscles. If those muscles are tight or you’ve simply overdone it, the tendon may become inflamed. The result is a nasty ache along the back of the leg just above the ankle.
Poorly fitting or worn shoes may exacerbate the problem, as these won’t give you the correct support.
These are small but painful. The bone doesn’t actually break, but a stress fracture creates a myriad of tiny cracks in the bone. This commonly occurs in the shinbones and feet, and is usually caused by doing too much too soon without giving your feet time to adapt to something new.
Stress fractures are particularly common if you’re a runner – whether this is on a treadmill, road or track. By increasing your distance suddenly or landing incorrectly, you’ll overload the bones of your feet and legs. Always make sure to build up your mileage gradually, and ideally get some guidance from a trainer.
This is common for runners, footballers, tennis players, or in any activity where your toe is repeatedly hitting the inside of the shoe. It can also occur from one strike. The result is a build up of blood under the nail, which can be very tender and painful.
Fortunately, a podiatrist can relieve the pressure by draining the toe. There is also a possibility that the nail may fall off, or it may need to be removed. The correct footwear for your activity will support and protect the feet, and go a long way to preventing injury.
This is a common exercise injury and occurs when you land awkwardly or your foot isn’t properly supported. This makes the ankle go in one direction and the foot go to the other. As you can imagine, this isn’t a good thing, as it causes the ankle ligaments to stretch and in some cases, tear.
Icing and rest can be enough to ease this, but serious sprains need stronger measures. Rehab, an ankle brace or a walking boot may be necessary. A podiatrist can support your recovery with appropriate exercises.
Help Is at Hand
Preventing or reducing the risk of exercise injuries can be simple. Start slowly, build up gradually, wear the right clothing and footwear, and learn how to exercise from an expert.