If you, a friend or family member play football, check out these tips for caring for your feet throughout the season. Other athletes and casual runners should pay attention too!
Get the right shoes
You may think it’s obvious, but selecting the correct shoes is the first and most important step in caring for your feet this season. Football players not only have to select the proper size, but must consider style. Football cleats come in high, mid, and low cuts.
High cuts provide lots of ankle support for players who perform more blocking than running. Mid cuts provide some support, but more range of motion. They are for players who get thrown in the mix a lot, but aren’t strictly blockers. Low cuts are for players who rely on speed and versatility, but they provide very little ankle protection.
Make sure the shoe fits flush on your foot. Don’t settle for small gaps and areas that pinch in hopes of “breaking it in.” Football cleats are tough and won’t mold that much, so you’re better off taking your time to find a shoe that fits perfectly in the store.
Massage and ice your feet
Playing hard and running throughout practice or a game takes a toll on your feet. Your muscles can get tight and sore, and your veins can use some coaxing to pace the flow of blood to your muscles. Use a massaging tool, like a foot roller or a tennis ball, to roll around the bottom of your foot while you sit and relax after pushing yourself so hard.
Icing your feet can help prevent swelling that might occur after an intense game or practice session. Many players are familiar with resting, elevating, and icing your foot if it gets hurt, but don’t realize this is actually a method that can help prevent inflammation as well. After practices, if you don’t have cardiovascular problems (talk to a medical professional to learn about your cardio health), you should ice your feet for no longer than 15 minutes. Icing for too long can induce mild frostbite.
Keep your feet dry
Wet or sweaty feet can cause a few undesirable outcomes. Your feet will develop blisters more easily if they are soaked while you’re being active, or you can develop Athlete’s Foot or Plantar Warts. Each foot has around 125,000 sweat glands, so when you’re playing hard, all of these are open and exposed. If your sweat is allowed to collect in your shoe, or if you’re exposed to other player’s sweat in the locker room, you can get a foot fungus.
Keep your feet dry by wearing breathable, moisture-wicking socks. Synthetic materials, wool blends, and silk usually do the job pretty well. Avoid cotton as it doesn’t breath well and allows sweat to pool up and soak your feet.
Are you an athlete with questions about caring for your feet? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy.