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An athlete’s best friend may be a podiatrist

Podiatry blends sports and medicine to offer healing

Athletes tend to suffer from many of the same injuries as other podiatry patients, and most of those injuries are from overuse, affecting the lower leg, ankle, and foot. A podiatrist is ideally equipped to evaluate, diagnose, and treat such injuries in athletes of all ages and ability levels from children, to amateur athletes, and even professionals. Podiatrists are an integral part of an athlete’s rehabilitation and conditioning team through their ability to blend sports with medicine.

The podiatrist, athlete, and others on the team — coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and for younger patients, parents — should all be focused on ensuring that the athlete is healthy and ready to return to activity with a commitment to taking the best plan of action possible for the athlete. While coaches and trainers may push to get the athlete back on the field as early as possible, your podiatrist may act as the voice of reason and encourage proper healing and therapy so you can return to your full level of training as quickly as possible while preventing worsening or recurring injuries.

The specific knowledge set of your podiatrist

Your podiatrist is better equipped than many other specialists to offer evaluation and advice regarding proper shoe fit based on your foot type, the demands or your sport, and the need for supportive devices such as orthotics. The podiatrists at Kansas City Foot Specialists are also ideal for treating athletes with heel pain thanks to the availability of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), a technologically advanced treatment option that uses short energy waves to create micro-traumas that induce healing and restoration of damaged tissues within the heel and foot. ESWT is ideal for athletes for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that most patients experience a significant amount of relief after just one treatment.

Additional ways in which your podiatrist may help

In addition to assessing and treating your specific athletic injury, your podiatrist may also help by being your cheerleader and promoting an active lifestyle during your recovery. Your podiatrist will encourage you to follow through on your treatment plan by reigning you back should you become over eager and want to return to training before you are truly ready. Athletes who attempt to return to a full training regimen too soon are at much greater risk of worsening injury or re-injury.

Your podiatrist will help you develop an adaptive exercise and training routine during the healing process with the goal of getting you back to your regular athletic activity safely and with a reasonable timeline for your particular injury. Of course, there are no guarantees, and as a podiatry patient, you will need to keep the lines of communication with your podiatrist open, including being honest about your activity level, symptoms, and other factors related to your situation.

Even if your podiatrist’s treatment plan for you seems more conservative than you would like, be sure to follow it closely. If you are able to return to your sport and regular training earlier than expected, just consider it a great bonus and a testament to how great your partnership with your podiatrist has been.

To learn more about how the podiatrists at Kansas City Foot Specialists may fit into your athletic training and injury rehabilitation, call us today at (913) 338-4440 to schedule an appointment. Be sure to bring the socks and shoes you wear during your athletic activity to your appointment. We can’t wait to help you get back on track!