Podiatry and sport

September 23, 2013

A podiatrist is a health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the feet and lower limbs.

The foot has 26 bones and 4 layers of muscles in the sole. When running, the weight bearing forces through the foot and ankle can be up to 3 times your body weight. Sport injuries to the feet and lower limbs are common due to the increase in forces, which can lead to acute or chronic pain and soft tissue or bony injury.

Any sport which involves walking, running, standing or jumping places greater physical demands on our body than normal day-to-day activities. Injuries to the foot and lower limb make up a large proportion of sporting injuries. Common sporting injuries include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, ankle sprains and shin or knee pain. If you are experiencing any lower limb discomfort or pain, or have abnormal wear of your athletic footwear, a review with a podiatrist is recommended.

A podiatrist’s assessment will include examination of the foot and lower limb, muscle testing, gait analysis (as they have knowledge of the biomechanics of athletic movement) and diagnosis of the foot condition.

Podiatrists will recommend appropriate footwear, training regimes, prescribe appropriate muscle stretching, strengthening and, if needed, fit orthotic devices into the sports shoe.