Summer has great weather, which makes it the perfect time for physical fun. Whether you're playing organized team sports, incorporating a jog into your morning routine, or frolicking on the beach, it's great to be on the move while it's warm outside.
Unfortunately, all that physical activity can also put your feet at risk for minor and serious injury. From environmental factors to the inherent risks of sports injuries to your feet, there are plenty of ways you can end up with some common foot and ankle injuries that cause you severe pain during the summer.
Here are 10 tips from Dr. Davis at South Texas Podiatrist to help you avoid some common injuries of the foot this summer:
1. Wear the right shoes for the activity you're doing.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's often overlooked. Make sure you're wearing shoes that fit well and provide the support you need for the activity you're engaged in. You'll need shoes with good arch support that fit properly.
If you're a worker in an industry that's hard on your feet, like construction, make sure you have the right work boots to protect your feet from potential hazards.
2. Be aware of environmental factors.
Hot pavement can cause burns, while sharp objects hidden in grass can puncture your skin. Be mindful of your surroundings and take precautions when necessary, like wearing closed-toe shoes in areas where there might be debris.
Hitting your foot on a hard surface can also cause bruising or even acute injuries like broken bones. Be careful when walking or running on uneven surfaces to avoid a fall.
3. Don't overdo it.
Start new physical activity gradually and increase intensity and duration slowly to give your body time to adjust. Pushing yourself too hard too quickly, therefore adding too much stress to your feet, is a recipe for overuse injuries, or even stress fractures.
4. Stay hydrated.
Dehydration can put you at a higher risk of cramping, which can lead to injuries. Foot cramps are especially painful and can sideline you from your favorite summer activities. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you're engaging in strenuous activity in hot weather.
5. Wear sunscreen on your feet.
Many people forget their feet when it comes time to slather on the sunscreen, but it's just as important to protect your feet from the sun's harmful rays.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen can also help prevent blisters caused by friction with sandals.
6. Inspect your feet regularly.
Take a look at your feet after being active, and check for any cuts, bruises, or blisters. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, seek medical attention right away. When left untreated, minor injuries can become infected and lead to more serious problems.
7. Be careful with home treatments.
If you do sustain a minor injury, it's tempting to treat it at home with over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. OTC anti-inflammatory medication is helpful for relieving pain, but be careful – some home treatments can actually do more harm than good. If you're unsure about how to properly care for an injury, it's always best to seek professional medical advice.
8. Don't ignore pain.
If you're experiencing pain in your feet or ankles, don't try to tough it out – this can only make the problem worse. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong, so pay attention to it and seek medical help if the pain doesn't go away on its own or gets worse.
9. Stretch and warm up before activity.
Stretching and warming up before physical activity can help prevent injuries by loosening your muscles and increasing blood flow to your feet. Take a few minutes to do some simple stretches before you start your chosen activity.
Some of the best stretches for your feet include:
- Toe raises: Stand on a flat surface with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise up onto your toes, holding the position for 30 seconds.
- Heel drops: Stand on a flat surface with your feet shoulder-width apart and drop your heels down below the level of the rest of your foot, holding the position for 30 seconds.
- Ankle circles: Sit on the ground with your legs out straight in front of you and make small circles with your ankles, going both clockwise and counterclockwise.
10. See a podiatrist for regular checkups.
Even if you're not currently experiencing any problems with your feet, it's a good idea to see a podiatrist for regular checkups. These professionals can spot potential problems early and help you take steps to avoid them.
Follow these tips from Dr. Davis to help prevent foot injuries this summer, and have some fun in the sun!
If you do end up with a foot injury this summer, don't hesitate to seek treatment from Dr. Davis at South Texas Podiatrist. Dr. Davis and his team have years of experience treating all types of foot injuries, and he can help you get back on your feet – literally – as quickly and safely as possible.
With 20+ years of experience providing top-quality foot care, South Texas Podiatrist is here to help you get back on your feet. If you’re ready to experience care from the top podiatrist San Antonio has to offer, schedule an appointment with our foot and ankle health team today.