Nothing takes you out of the game faster than a foot or ankle injury, and yet athletes tend to ignore their feet and ankles as they practice, train, and focus on improving performance. Other than buying the right shoes, most athletes don’t give their feet a second thought. However, partnering with a podiatrist who works with athletes could be the secret to winning that race, scoring that goal, or staying off the bench. At Northwest Extremity Specialist clinics throughout the Portland area, both amateur and competitive athletes can get the expert care their feet and ankles need.
Preventative Care From a Sports Podiatrist
Instead of just thinking of a podiatrist as someone who treats injuries, smart athletes know that working with a podiatrist can help prevent serious injuries and optimize performance in their sports. When you are aware of the kinds of injuries you could be prone to based on your foot mechanics and the sports you play, you can take steps to prevent them. We help athletes by offering:
- Foot assessments. Every foot is different—flat feet, high arches, tight tendons, and toe deformities can make you prone to certain injuries. A baseline assessment of your foot structure and mechanics can ensure that your feet are protected.
- Gait analysis. It’s important to assess the way you walk and run in order to recommend the best shoes and other supports for your feet. Overpronation, supination, in-toeing, or out-toeing can impact your performance and lead to injury if not addressed.
- Shoe recommendations. Wearing the right shoes with the right fit for the activity you are participating in and for your specific foot and ankle injuries can make a world of difference in performance and injury prevention.
- Custom orthotics. Most athletes can benefit from a custom-made shoe insert to correct for foot deformities and weaknesses. Orthotics can be made to fit in specialty footwear and protect your ankles, knees, and back as well as your feet.
- Injury prevention therapies. Massage, physical therapy, shockwave treatments, and other cutting-edge therapies can resolve inflammation and weaknesses before they become debilitating.
With regular visits to one of our convenient podiatry offices, you, too, could protect your feet and ankles and potentially even improve your speed, agility, endurance, and balance.
Effective Injury Treatment That Gets You Back in the Game—Safely
Even with top-notch preventative care, athletes can get injured. The amount of stress they put on their feet and ankles makes it more likely that they will twist, sprain, tear, or break soft tissue or bones in their feet and ankles. If that happens, you can trust our team to treat your injury. Common sports injuries we see in our offices include:
- Achilles tendinitis and ruptures. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and bears the brunt of athletic activity. An inflamed or torn tendon requires expert care, state-of-the-art therapies, and possibly surgery.
- Turf toe. Turf toe is a sprain of the big toe joint and happens when your toe is bent upwards. It is common in many athletes, especially soccer and football players, and other field-based athletes.
- Ankle sprains. An ankle sprain can keep you out of the game for many weeks. Proactive care from a podiatrist could accelerate healing and shorten your downtime.
- Fractures. Falling, hitting your foot against a hard object, or twisting a weak ankle could all lead to a bone fracture, but stress fractures are more common in athletes who put a lot of weight and pressure on their feet and ankles.
- Plantar fasciitis. Repeated impacts on your feet or suddenly increasing physical activity could strain the band of tissue that runs along the sole of your foot, the plantar fascia. The pain could prevent you from performing well in your sport, but there are many treatment options, from conservative to cutting-edge.
One of the advantages of seeking preventative care from us is that if an injury does occur, you have an expert on your team who knows your foot mechanics, your athletic goals, and the best possible course of treatment.