It’s just a fact – anyone who plays a sport can get injured, no matter how cautious they are. Balls smash into heads and cause concussions. Players trip and fall or crash into each other and somebody’s arm snaps in two. Knees twist around too far and ligaments rip apart. It’s brutal out there.

Feet and ankles are particularly susceptible to injury because of how much activity they see. When you run or play tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, or soccer, your lower limbs are in constant motion, bearing your full weight and the responsibility for propelling your whole body around. One misstep, one accidental collision, and you’re headed to the medical center for a broken ankle.

But of course there are steps you can take to reduce the risk that’s inherent in all sports. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, VA offers you these 5 suggestions for preventing sports injuries:

  1. Use the right equipment. Protect your feet by adhering to Dr. Wilhelm’s guidelines for buying athletic footwear. It’s not good enough to wear some kind of “all-around” shoe or cross-trainer for every sport. Softball requires cleats. Wear a running shoe when you’re playing tennis and you’re simply asking to twist your ankle. So start with the proper shoe for whatever sport you’re playing, making sure that you have adequate support, stability and shock-absorbent cushioning.
  2. Remember to stretch. It’s incredibly important to warm up your muscles, ligaments, and joints before launching into hard play. Coach may not assign ankle circles to your warm-up routine, but you can add them easily enough!
  3. Don’t overdo it. There is definitely such a thing as overtraining. Excessive and prolonged impact can lead to repetitive stress injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, and stress fractures.
  4. Cut your toenails correctly, especially if you’re a baseball/softball catcher or pitcher. Believe it or not, these players have a high incidence of painful ingrown toenails, due to the pressure they put on their toes. Always cut toenails straight across and not too short.
  5. Treat injuries quickly and properly. If you do injure your foot or ankle, don’t ignore it. Delaying or avoiding treatment can leave you with weak spots that lead to recurring injuries, so make an appointment right away with Dr. Wilhelm, board-certified podiatrist. For quality care of your foot and ankle injuries, give us a call at (703) 996-3000.
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