Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation

Common problems for sports & recreation workers
Sports and recreation work – including participation in professional sports, personal training, coaching or teaching, and umpiring – involves increased force and pressure on the feet that can lead to injuries requiring specialist treatment.

Sports podiatric injuries come in two forms:

  • Overuse injuries caused by repeated pressure on tendons and joints; and
  • Biomechanical injuries caused by incorrect movement patterns. Biomechanical injuries are often impacted by overuse problems as athletes may be changing the way they walk, run or jump to compensate for an existing injury, thereby causing further damage.

Risk factors
Poor foot mechanics
When you run your feet and legs are exposed to dramatically increased stress forces which can be magnified by incorrect foot mechanics. Pronation is the term used to describe feet that are excessively rolled inwards, whereas supination is the term used for feet that roll outwards. Pronation and supination are normal and necessary parts of walking and running. Problems tend to arise when people have excessive amounts of each, or remain pronated or supinated for too long. These situation can result in increased stress and strain on bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, thus a predisposition to injuries.

Incorrect footwear
Buying the wrong shoe for your workplace conditions, activity, body mass, and foot mechanics can increase the chance of injury.

How to reduce your risk
The most prevalent sports injuries include shin splints, runner’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, corns and bunions, through to postural issues and lower back pain. Runners also complain of thickened nails that may be ingrown.

These problems can be avoided by:
Wearing supportive shoes
Different kinds of exercise may require different kinds of shoes – you should choose your shoes based on the primary activity you will be performing when wearing them.

  • Shoes should be immediately comfortable and not require breaking in.
  • Your shoes should have sufficient room at the toes (about the width of your index finger when you’re standing up) and not compress the sides of your feet.
  • If your job involves a lot of running, your shoes should be designed to absorb impact forces.
  • Your shoes should include features to help control biomechanical problems. Aim for a sturdy heel box, good arch support, and appropriate cushioning.

Stretch
A proper warm-up is crucial to the prevention of many sports & recreation work-related injuries. The body needs time to adjust to each new activity, particularly if it involves sustained pressure or impact. A full warm-up and cool-down before and after each session can go a long way to keep you on your feet.

The RICE protocol
If you do injure your feet or lower limbs at work, it’s important not to ignore the pain. Follow the RICE protocol and seek medical attention.

Rest:

stop work immediately

Ice:

place an icepack on the injured area

Compression:

wrap the injured area to reduce swelling

Elevation:

keep your leg raised so the foot is above waist height

What can a podiatrist do for you?
Sports podiatry looks specifically at injuries to the foot, ankle and lower leg sustained through participation in physical activity. Podiatrists are highly-skilled health professionals trained to help prevent, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate medical and surgical conditions of the feet.

Podiatric treatment for sports & recreation workers can include:
Managing existing injuries
If you are suffering from foot or lower leg pain, we can recommend treatments to provide your feet with more support throughout the day and relieve any discomfort. Some injuries benefit from sports massage therapy and corrective exercise regimens.

Biomechanical assessments
We conduct biomechanical assessments to investigate your posture and the way your lower limbs function. We look to see if you display any unnatural biomechanics and can then develop a treatment plan specific to your individual needs.

Finding appropriate footwear
We can evaluate your sports shoes to check that they are suitable for your chosen sport and can offer advice on changes that may make the world of difference to any pain or discomfort you are experiencing. We provide expert advice to ensure you maintain your best performance levels whilst achieving maximum comfort at work.

Fitting orthotics (arch supports)
We can also fit you with custom orthotics to provide extra support and reduce muscle, tendon and ligament strain. Sports orthotics are specifically designed to work with your sports shoes and are customised both to your feet and with intended use in mind.

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