Sports Podiatry: Treatment Options Available for Pro Athletes

by Milton Hayes

Lower limb injuries are very common in sports activities. As a pro athlete, therefore, chances are high you might sustain injuries to your lower limbs at some point in your career. If that occurs, you'll need to see a medical professional who can provide treatment so that you can get back on the tracks as soon as possible. That medical professional is a sports podiatrist.

Sports podiatrists can treat an extensive range of lower limb problems, including but not limited to stress fractures, heel pain, ankle sprains, shin splints, torn Achilles tendons, neuroma, bunions, etc. Here are some treatment options they can provide:

Orthotic footwear prescription

The aim of orthotic shoes is to rectify dysfunctional biomechanics. Orthotics are usually prescribed to reduce pain, enhance lower limb function, boost shock absorption capabilities and prevent lower limb injuries such as bunions. Before prescribing orthotics for your specific foot problem, a sports podiatrist will perform a comprehensive assessment of your footwear, profession and lifestyle.

Orthotics can help treat both acute and chronic lower limb problems including stress fractures, tendonitis, and ankle sprains by ensuring steady postural control during walking or running.

Sports therapy

Sports therapy is physiotherapy directed at correcting lower limb imbalances through massaging of soft tissues affected when you suffer a sports injury treatment. Soft tissues that are manipulated during the massage consists of fascia, muscle, ligaments and tendons. Massaging can help determine the location of any biomechanical imbalances that may be causing your lower limb injury. 

Sports therapy is often used together with advanced neurological procedures designed to treat problems in soft tissue resulting from repeated muscle strain and trauma. By providing a sports massage before and after physical exercise, sports podiatrists may improve foot performance, speed up recovery and even prevent injury.

Footwear advice

Besides providing orthotic shoes and therapy, sports podiatrists can provide footwear advice as well. The risk of suffering a foot, hip, knee or ankle injury can be lowered by well-fitting shoes for your feet. For that reason, you should never force your feet into shoes that don't fit properly.

Ill-fitting shoes can lead to foot-deforming conditions like bunions, callous, hammertoes, etc. Shoes that don't fit as they should may even extend pain to your knees, hips, ankles or back. Sports podiatrists will give you essential tips on how to buy the right shoes for your feet so that they can retain their natural shape.

Depending on the specific lower limb problem you are facing, a sports podiatrist can choose a treatment plan that will ensure the quickest possible recovery and minimize the risk of the injury recurring.