Autumn’s arrival with its cooler, drier, air, signals the return of outdoor activities and school sports (football, soccer and track).  Summer vacation is truly over and these athletes will go from lazy days wearing sandals and flip flops to slipping into cleats and track shoes.  The combination of relative inactivity, shoe design and poorly supportive foot wear choices during the summer months, often cause overuse foot injuries, especially for those athletes who resume their training  too quickly. A cleat’s design does not usually offer the proper support and can cause strain to both the Achilles tendon and foot’s arch ligament. Three very commonly encountered autumn lower extremity overuse injuries are

There are several ways competitive athletes can avoid these injuries. The first is to maintain good supportive foot wearthroughout the summer. Reducing, but not eliminating one’s training routine during summer vacation is ideal. While every athlete benefits from periodic rest, it is critical to allow enough time to gradually return to your in-season training routine.  When a flat track is unavailable to train on, periodic direction changes on the road are necessary during aerobic training. Consistent stretching of the Achilles and hamstring tendons helps to avoid injuries associated with the uneven roads of Northwestern New Jersey.

Lastly, certain genetic and acquired foot and ankle problems can make an athlete over compensate movements in the foot that alter ones gait, the way you walk or run. As a result the issue can create strain to the muscles, tendons and ligaments used during those movements. For some athletes, custom foot orthoticsthat controls those weaknesses may help stabilize gait and prevent injury.

Of all sports medicine physicians, the podiatristis best positioned to analyze a lower extremity’s functional weakness to determine what treatment is most appropriate. Athletes and sports medicine physicians working together create the ideal team to prevent injury and maximize performance.  At FootCare Associates, that’s exactly what we do. Our four board certified podiatric physicianscan help any athlete, coach or trainer who may benefit from our knowledge base, experience and commitment to maximize athletic performance levels. If you currently suffer from, or are prone to overuse injuries of your lower extremity, contact us at (908) 852-0229 and we’ll work through the problem together.

By Fawaz Nesheiwat

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