Of all the complex structures in the human body, the foot is one of the most enthralling. People might not realize that the human foot is astonishingly complex. It is composed of 26 bones and has evolved for tough usage. For athletes, foot care is expressly essential to maintain the support, balance, and thrust they need for all those rigorous activities required in their sports. Although the foot is impressively resilient, it too is prone to damages from taxing daily use.
Why Caring for Your Feet Is Important
Some things in life are priceless. Quality of life is directly linked to being able to be self-sustaining— being able to partake in the simple things such as walking or playing a sport. If you don’t take care of your feet, you are unlikely to operate at your best or independently.
As an athlete, there are many things to consider when preparing for a competition, whether it’s a gentle or a heavy-hitting sport. Maybe you have it all figured out; you eat all the appropriate foods; you get your daily dose of sleep, and you keep a healthy lifestyle. But do you ever stop and think about your feet? Today, we’re going to look at a few foot care tips that can help boost your training as well as your performance.
Common Foot Problems Among Athletes
Because of all the jumping, running, and throwing, proper foot care is particularly critical for athletes. Getting injured is a common part of the job for athletes. Additionally, they are also more likely to catch fungal infections. Luckily, with advanced foot care, many of these situations can be anticipated and even stopped. Some of the most common foot problems among athletes include:
10 Foot Care Tips for Athletes
1. Don’t Ignore the Signs
The leading cause of foot pains is overuse. Frequent stress on the feet can cause the previously mentioned problems. So don’t ignore the signs! If you feel like something is not right, stop your training session. Maybe it’s time to get checked out. Take it as nature's way of telling you to focus on recovering instead of going harder.
2. Good Foot Hygiene Is Key
This may sound like an obvious tip, but keeping your feet clean and healthy requires more than a regular shower.
Consider the soap you use and how well you clean your toes when showering. Always remember to dry your feet thoroughly after bathing. Doing so will help prevent fungus and bacteria from forming. A fierce case of athlete's foot can stop you from performing as hard as you should.
3. Do Warm-Up Exercises and Stretching
Athletes know how important warming up and stretching really are. That being said, don’t forget to include your feet in your stretching rounds. Some exercises you can perform to warm-up your feet include ankle rotation, clutching small objects with your toes, standing on one foot, and toe stretches.
Another helpful and simple exercise is negative stretches. You can easily do these by placing your toes on the side of a stair-step and raising both your heels.
4. Your Sport, Your Responsibility
Runners: Wearing the right shoe for your sport is extremely important. Studies confirm that harder playing fields deliver a harder shock to the foot and of course, the body. If your sport requires you to race on a track, then train on a track. However, to circumvent problems due to repeated shock, try alternating your training by running on grass or softer fields.
Water Sports: Flip-flops do not provide sufficient foot and ankle support! One more time for the ones in the back-- flip flops do not provide enough ankle support. If your sport requires beach time, using water shoes can assist in preventing cuts caused by cracked shells, corals, and other dangers lurking in the ocean.
Hiking: Thick-soled, solid shoes are not the most suitable for day hikes! Wearing flexible-soled shoes is much more practical. However, when it comes to hikes across rugged, muddy, or high-altitude territory, thick-sold shoes might be ideal. Furthermore, if you’re wearing a backpack that weighs more than 30 pounds, it’s best to wear shoes that promote ankle support.
5. Avoid Sharing Footwear
You might not know this, but you can contract foot fungus by wearing other individual's shoes and socks. This goes for rentals as well. Don’t take the chance, save yourself the headache, always use your own footgear.
6. Calluses and Corns Need Proper Damage Control
Calluses are dried dead skin cells that form on soles. Corns, on the other hand, develop on your toes. Don’t try to solve this problem with your traditional pain creams. They are caused by relentless pressure and friction. Corns and calluses need to be taken care of as soon as you identify the symptoms.
7. Don’t Pop Blisters
Blisters are very common. They are usually caused by a fungus that develops typically in moistened and warm regions. Strolling shoeless near infected areas like swimming pools or on a wet grass bed can make you give you blisters. Luckily for you, there is a simple solution. Well-fitted shoes and good quality socks can help prevent them from forming. If you unfortunate enough to get one, don’t pop it and don’t scratch it! It will only make it worse.
8. Socks, Socks, Socks
Socks are not just feet covers. Not all socks are made equally. Quilted socks made with synthetic fiber have special, moisture-wicking features which are advised for athletes, as they limit abrasion and blisters.
9. “Ugly” Toenails? Get That Checked
A discolored, fissured, or decaying nail could be a sign that you have contracted a nail fungus. Don’t go for the easy way out by applying nail polish to hide it. Chances are, it will only make it worse.
10. Get a Foot Massage
Massages are a healing way of losing any stress or stiffness you have in your feet. For the best results, consult a professional therapist who will focus on the specific areas where you need relief the most.
Where to Find Natural Foot Care Products
When it comes to foot care products, there’s a lot to choose from. Gold Mountain Beauty offers some foot care products that can help keep your feet healthy. Explore our foot care at-home collection today.