Everyone likes to stay active. Whether it's taking a quick 20-minute walk around the neighborhood or running a 5k, more people are getting outside and keeping healthy. Unfortunately, many suffer from overuse and other injuries when trying to stay active. "These days, Americans have a variety of exercise options to stay healthy, whether it's walking, jogging, or Pilates," said APMA President R. Daniel Davis, DPM. "These activities can be strenuous on our feet and cause overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are common and can prevent you from staying active. That is why it is so important to see a podiatrist as soon as you get injured." But how do you know the difference between foot and ankle pain from an injury, and soreness from a great workout? It's simple - just look for these four clues:
The Four Signs of Injury
- Keep an eye on the injured foot or ankle. Serious injuries will be visible, so look for signs of swelling, inflammation, or bruising.
- Use the pain scale. Think of a scale between one and ten. If your pain jumps to a nine or ten with activity, such as putting weight on the affected foot, that's a good indicator you're injured.
- Categorize your pain. Pain from an injury is unmistakable. If you experience sharp or stabbing pain, burning, tingling, or numbness, you need to make an appointment with a podiatrist.
- Persistent pain. If you experience the same amount of pain on day three as day one, you likely have an injury and need to see a podiatrist right away. The same goes for nagging pain. If the pain is mostly resolved but two weeks later you're still not 100 percent, it's time to make an appointment.
Back to Basics
Many common injuries that people who exercise regularly face can be traced back to one source: wearing the wrong pair of shoes. To find out what to look for in an all-around athletic shoe, try putting your potential new pair to the 1-2-3 test!
- Look for a stiff heel. Press on both sides of the heel counter. It shouldn't collapse.
- Check toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your toes. It shouldn't be too stiff or bend too much in the toe box area.
- Select a shoe with a rigid middle. Does your shoe twist? It shouldn't - your shoe should never twist in the middle.
Keep in Mind
If you participate in a specific athletic activity more than three days a week, it's important to choose the right footwear for your activity. Sneakers made for tennis players will provide different support and traction than cleats made for football players.