Our Austin Podiatrists Recommends Tips for Avoiding Summer Sports Injuries

After waiting months to start summer sports, the last thing an athlete wants is to get hurt and be forced to cut their season short. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, there are a number of injuries we treat summer after summer, and some of them might be avoided by following some prevention tips. If you do suffer an injury, our top-notch podiatric team will be there for you to help get you back on your feet and into the game quickly. How to help prevent summer sports injuries

Summer Sports: Common Foot Injuries in Austin

People usually hurt their feet and ankles because of overuse or trauma. Understanding the differences between the two may help you to avoid some injuries and recognize what to do differently if you experience one of these common problems.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are sometimes called chronic injuries and usually occur over time. When a person engages in repetitive movements, high-impact activities, or a sudden increase in exercise or the difficulty of an exercise routine, they will overuse tendons and ligaments in their feet and ankles. Some examples of overuse injuries include:

  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle strains
  • Stress fractures
  • Shin splints

Traumatic Injuries

This type of injury happens suddenly, often due to a fall, a quick movement, or collision with a heavy object. These are also sometimes called acute injuries. Injuries that fall into this category include:

How You Can Help Prevent Summer Sports Injuries

Many summer sports injuries can be avoided. You can keep your feet and ankles in good shape and reduce the chances of injury by taking the following preventative actions before you run into trouble:

Replace Old Footwear

Your shoes should always be:

  • The right size—neither too large or too small
  • Roomy in the toe box
  • Well-cushioned to absorb impact
  • Designed for the activity you’re doing
  • Replaced when they become worn

A podiatrist can also evaluate the structure of your feet and advise you if there may be orthotics that could offer pain relief, enhanced athletic performance, or additional protection from injuries.

Train Carefully

Never jump into a new or difficult exercise routine without giving your body a chance to adjust. You should increase your difficulty by only 10 percent per week. Cross-training, that incorporates low-impact exercises into your routine and gives your feet and ankles a break, can also decrease the chances that you will experience an overuse injury. Your routine should build endurance and strength and include some days when you rest and recover. There should also be breaks for rest built into each training session.

Listen to Your Body

If you’re experiencing pain, don’t try to play through it. If the activity hurts you, stop immediately and seek medical attention. For foot and ankle injuries, our office can help.


Stretching for at least ten minutes before and after workouts can help your muscles, ligaments, and tendons handle exercise better. A podiatrist can help you determine what foot and ankle stretches would be best, given your planned activities.

Stay Hydrated

Your body does not function properly without the right amount of water, and dehydration can happen rapidly especially when you’re working hard and you’re outside in the summer heat. Cramping from dehydration can lead to injuries in your muscles and tendons. Don’t wait until you are in the middle of your workout to drink water. Make sure that you are consistently drinking enough fluids, even on days when you aren’t engaged in sports.

Fuel Your Body

Eating healthy can help ensure your body has the right vitamins and nutrients to protect or heal itself from some common foot and ankle injuries:

  • Bone damage – magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium
  • Cramps – potassium
  • Immune system – zinc and vitamin C

Brace Yourself

If you have old injuries, consider wearing a brace to prevent additional issues. If you aren’t sure what type of brace you might need, a podiatrist can help.

Care for Injuries at Home

If you have a minor sprain or strain, you can try the following interventions at home:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen

When to See an Austin Podiatrist

If you choose to try home treatment for minor injuries, but you’re still in pain after a few days, or if your injury is more severe, you should seek medical care. Signs that an injury needs medical attention include:

  • Lack of relief from home care
  • Popping sound at the time of injury, immediately followed by pain
  • Pain that makes it difficult to walk or move around
  • Visible changes in your foot structure
  • Audible creaking or crackling in your ankle

How an Austin Podiatrist Can Help

If you have a severe injury or an injury that is not responding to home treatment, a podiatrist can utilize medical equipment to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and then determine what treatment is needed. A podiatrist can potentially help you to avoid the need for surgery by recommending less invasive options such as:

It’s a good idea to see a podiatrist even before your season starts, so they can help you select the best footwear for your needs and put together a customized plan for keeping your feet and ankles strong. The podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can also discuss how best to avoid injuries that could occur as a result of foot deformities, an unusual gait, or existing health conditions.

Consequences of Ignoring Injuries

If you push your body to keep playing through the pain or rush back into competition before you have fully recovered from an injury, you may experience adverse consequences that could include:

  • Need for surgery you could have otherwise avoided
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Secondary injuries such as tears or ruptures
  • Permanent damage
  • Decreased mobility
Craig Thomajan
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Austin Podiatrist