A good player on my son’s flag football missed the big game yesterday due to an in-grown toe nail that became infected. It hurt too much to walk, let alone play.

I am a Steelers fan but missed most the 70’s glory. I do know Jack Lambert had a Hall of Fame career end over turf toe.

These are small areas of the body, but they can have huge impact on athletic performance. We ask the feet to do so much. They withstand many times body weight pressure on each landing and cutting maneuver. Don’t minimize the need to care for these areas.

Michael Jordon famously took care of his feet. He did nightly soaks, had calf massages, had specially fit shoes, had pedicures, and consulted his doctors about his feet regularly. He knew he couldn’t perform well if he had foot pain.

So, what should you do? Well, I am not a podiatrist but I do treat orthopedic foot and ankle conditions every day. Here is what I see:

1. Keep your calf muscles stretched out
2. Trim your nails
3. Seek medical attention for any problem immediately
4. Take care of the skin – watch out for athlete’s foot, rashes, etc.
5. Use synthetic fabric socks
6. Wash and dry your feet each shower
7. Wear supportive shoes, even when not doing your sport
8. Change your shoes often, they wear out
9. Have proper shoes for your activity
10. Have your shoes professionally fit – this is a must

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I treat injuries all the time. Use these tips to avoid injuries in the first place. Call me or a physical therapist near you if you have issues or need clarification. These are small areas, but big deals. We can treat these areas if needed. You must restore full motion, regain full strength, and remove all pain at the foot and ankle to allow full performance levels on the field. If there is an un-addressed injury, there can easily be chronic pain, chronic instability, and chronic dysfunction that will limit your athletic performance.

Put your best foot forward!

Kash Eagleton, DPT, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Specialist
Fredericksburg, VA

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