School might not let out for another month and a half, but you can bet that kids are already gearing up for their favorite summer sports. Whether it’s lacrosse league, soccer camp, or just a pickup game of basketball at the neighborhood park, there are certain tips we should follow before we (or our children!) take the field. Sports can be a lot of fun and are good for our health, but we need to make sure we don’t get injured in the excitement!

The first, and perhaps most obvious-yet-overlooked, tip is to wear the proper footwear –a simple tennis shoe doesn’t cut it! In sports like basketball where jumping is common, you’ll want a thick sole to save you from stress fractures. In sports like soccer, you’ll want to wear a proper soccer cleat to give you the traction you need and save you from turf toe and ankle sprains. In lacrosse however, you’ll want a shoe with high ankle support. This provides the necessary support for quick changes in direction and helps you from rolling your ankle. Whatever sport you are planning to play, be sure you have the right footwear!

Before the whistle blows, you’ll want to be sure to warm up and stretch adequately. Not only will your performance on the field be significantly better after you’ve loosened your muscles up a bit, but  you will reduce the risk for sports-related injuries like Achilles tendinitis, strained muscles, or ankle sprain. It can even help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with arthritis!

The last tip is to communicate with your podiatrist about the types of sports you plan to or currently are playing. Your podiatrist here at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe NJ can help evaluate your shoe needs, and be sure your shoe fits properly. They can also instruct you on proper stretching techniques for your foot and ankle to help decrease your chance of a sports injury. So, whether you are coming in to make sure you’re ready to hit the court, or maybe you think you already broke your toe kicking the soccer ball, make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care today.

By Nrupa Shah