People running on a treadmill. Wearing proper footwear while exercising is important for avoiding injuries.

Avoiding injuries while exercising

In Conditions, Wellness by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist

People running on a treadmillAs we bring in a new year, many of us are dusting off our list of resolutions and re-committing to them.  One of the most popular resolutions every year is to exercise more, whether your goal is to lose weight or to increase your fitness level.

With all that new year energy driving you, take some precautions for avoiding injuries while exercising.  Don’t let your hopes of a healthier you in 2015 get sidelined by preventable slips and falls.

Protecting your feet can protect your whole body

Your feet are your foundation.  By protecting them with the right footwear for your chosen activity, you not only save your feet, toes, and ankles from many injuries, but also your whole body.

Your feet absorb the impact of your physical activity and carry your body weight, and for those reasons alone they should be protected with the right shoes.  The right shoes can also prevent slips, twists, and falls that can cause injuries to other parts of your body.

If you’ve ever had a spectacular fall, think of all the muscles, joints, ligaments, and perhaps even bones that were injured.  Broken wrists, torn hamstrings, bumped heads, pulled back muscles; the list of possible injuries goes on.  Sometimes, accidents happen no matter how prepared we try to be.  However, simple precautions like wearing proper footwear can prevent many incidents and save a lot of pain.

When choosing footwear for your chosen activity, it’s important to also think of your own feet and any existing conditions you have.  For example, if your feet are stiff and rigid, you might need more cushioning in the heel and front of the sole.  If you have flat feet, a stiffer heel may be needed.

Don’t forget to stretch

An important key to avoiding injuries while exercising is to warm up and cool down.  Many of us know we should stretch, but did you know that it’s a good idea to stretch before AND after a workout?

Stretching before as a part of a gentle warm up will help loosen your muscles and ligaments before more strenuous exercise, and stretching afterwards during your cool down can help keep muscles from contracting and tightening up.

Don’t forget to stretch your feet, toes, and ankles as part of your routine.  For some simple stretches for your feet and toes, check out our post called Foot exercises to maintain and improve your foot health.  For your ankles, you can do ankle circles by imagining you are drawing a circle with your big toe, and you can do the “point and flex” by pointing your toes so your foot is in line with your leg, and then flexing your foot so it is at an angle with your leg.

Avoiding injuries while exercising with existing conditions

If you have an existing condition or past injury that is preventing you from getting the exercise you need to stay fit and healthy, come see us at Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care.  We can assess your feet, your gait (how your feet strike the ground when you walk), and take any pre-existing concerns into consideration to help you choose the right footwear for your exercise routine.  If necessary, we can also prescribe orthotics, compression socks, and other options that might help make exercising more comfortable for you.

If you’re ready to get started on a new exercise regimen, don’t let preventable foot injuries or existing pain or special concerns stand in your way!  Let us help!