Researchers found that the average person in the US takes 5,117 steps every day, which sums up to about 2.5 miles. Within a year, that equates to 1,867,705 steps or 912.5 miles. This is pretty much the distance between Tucson, Arizona, and Fort Worth, Texas.
That’s impressive, but keep in mind that the feet bear the entire body’s weight when it’s upright. For this reason, it’s easy to see how painful foot problems affect about 80% of people in the US.
The good news is that having fit feet can be easy with the help of a podiatrist. Podiatric services can be especially beneficial for athletes and those who play sports.
On that note, we came up with this guide listing the benefits of regular sports podiatrist visits. Read on to discover how a podiatrist can help you stay upright on healthy feet.
1. Helps Improve Mobility
One of the roles of podiatrists is to help improve their patients’ mobility. For starters, they assist patients in choosing the right footwear. The right shoes fit well, feel comfortable, and give the feet adequate cushion and support.
By contrast, ill-fitting shoes place more stress and tension on the feet, leading to pain. If this happens, your feet will feel so sore that you may limp, reducing your mobility.
Moreover, podiatrists can recommend exercises designed to strengthen the legs and feet. Sports podiatrists also teach patients about stretching strategies to boost flexibility. Remember, the stronger and more flexible your legs are, the more mobile you can get.
Podiatrists also educate patients on the various actions that can injure the feet. By knowing these, you can avoid such behaviors or activities. The lower your risks of foot problems, the fewer foot injuries you’re likely to sustain.
2. Improved Mobility Can Cut Fall and Injury Risks
People with mobility problems are at a higher risk of falls. That’s why falls are common among the elderly. One in three older adults experiences a fall at least once a year.
Among athletes and sports goers, mobility problems can occur due to a sports injury.
For instance, if you sprain your ankle while running, the pain can make you lose your balance. That alone can already put you at risk of experiencing a fall.
Your injury can also make it hard for you to walk for several days. The limp you may develop can put your body out of balance, heightening your fall risk further.
As foot health specialists, podiatrists can help you keep such incidents at bay.
For starters, doctors of podiatry are experts in lower body balance and coordination. They monitor their patients’ mobile and immobile standing posture and gait. They pay particular attention to leg and feet muscle imbalances and joint instability. Plantar fasciitis is often a problem for athletes that participate in high-impact and high-intensity sports such as running marathons. A doctor might recommend pain medication, steroid injections, shock wave therapy, or surgery. Protalus has specific inserts for plantar fasciitis that can help alleviate some of the pain.
As such, foot doctors can catch and treat foot problems before they cause mobility issues. All these, paired with how they can help boost your mobility, can cut your injury risks.
3. Experts in Orthotics
According to this Marrickville podiatrist guide, orthotics are special, custom-made foot devices. They are special because, unlike ordinary shoe inserts, orthotics are load-distributing devices. They help balance the load placed on the underside of your feet.
In this way, orthotics can help enhance your foot and leg stability. Moreover, they can help correct foot deformities and improve foot and ankle functions. They can also lend extra support to the ankles, which are some of the easiest to injure parts of your feet.
Since orthotics boost foot functions, they can help you prevent further injuries.
4. Specialized Treatment for Foot Problems
Did you know that every year, two million people in the US sustain an ankle sprain? That makes it one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. Athletes and those who play sports are among those most prone to such injuries.
Like sprains, strains are also common among those with active lifestyles. For example, you can get a foot sprain or strain if you twist it by landing after spiking a volleyball. You can also get an ankle sprain or strain by turning around with most of your weight still on your feet.
Podiatrists are specialists when it comes to treating these foot injuries. They’re also experts in treating dislocations, ligament injuries, fractures, tendinitis, and overuse injuries. Moreover, they can treat foot infections, such as athlete’s foot and even ingrown nails.
For most minor injuries, treatment often starts with pain medications and massage therapy. Podiatrists also usually recommend orthotics to ease pain and improve stability. In more severe cases, these foot doctors may recommend surgery.
5. Address Flat Feet Concerns Before They Cause You Pain
An estimated 30% of people have “pes planus,” also known as flat feet. Not all with flat feet experience symptoms, but pain and swelling are common in those who do. People with this condition may also develop an awkward way of walking.
Having flat feet usually makes the feet roll to the inner side. Experts refer to this as “overpronation.” Sometimes, it can also cause the feet to point sideways or outward.
Flat feet can cause discomfort or pain if it overstrains muscles and ligaments. This can arise from the abnormal stresses placed on feet with very low arches or no arches at all.
If you have flat feet, you may notice uneven wearing on the soles of your shoes. This can happen since your arches don’t help distribute your body weight evenly on your feet. Uneven wearing on shoes, in turn, can increase your risks of injuries.
Podiatrists can help by recommending specific exercises designed to ease flat feet symptoms. Many of these exercises can even help prevent flat feet from developing in the first place.
If you already have pes planus and it’s causing you pain, a podiatrist can help you choose the right shoes. A foot doctor will also likely create custom-made arch support or orthotics for you. These special devices can ease some of the pressure and pain on your arch.
Keep Enjoying Sports With Your Two Happy, Fit Feet
Keep in mind that two million sports injuries bad enough to need emergency care occur each year in the US. Many of these affect the feet, which is why they deserve their own doctor.
That should be enough reason to go in for regular sports podiatrist visits. This way, you can keep standing and moving happily on your own two fit feet.
Looking for more ways to lead a healthier, happier life? Please feel free to check out our other health and lifestyle resources then!