Gymnastics and Your Feet
If the summer heat is getting to you or your kids, you’re likely looking for a way to stay active and beat the heat. One popular indoor sport is gymnastics. We’re often inspired by Olympic athletes as they handspring, cartwheel, and bounce all over our TV screens. They make it look easy!
But before you or your children run off and hit the mat, keep in mind that these professional athletes have been practicing and honing their skills for several years. They have been trained on the proper techniques to prevent injury to their bodies. They know how to stretch and warm up and how to properly cool down to keep their bodies limber. They also know when they should visit their podiatrist for any foot or ankle issues!
Common Gymnastics Injuries
The active, repetitive nature of the sport often leads to:
- Ankle sprains – quick turns and flips can often lead to overstretched ligaments, even if you do stick the perfect landing.
- Stress fractures – the repetitive impact of the heel bone or any other area of the foot to the mat can cause these hairline bone breaks.
- Plantar Fasciitis – overuse of the foot can lead to pain in the heel.
- Athletes Foot – being barefoot in the locker room and having sweaty feet and equipment can lead to high levels of bacteria and fungi.
How to Prevent Gymnastics Injuries
Luckily, you can work to prevent injuries or issues associated with gymnastics. Here are some ways:
- Get your feet and ankles checked – before starting gymnastics or any new sport, schedule an evaluation with our podiatrist, Dr. Stuart Snyder. He will ensure there are no current conditions that will preclude you from participating in your sport of choice.
- Warm up well – this includes stretching beforehand and staying hydrating to prevent cramping.
- Do your research – make sure you are working with a reputable gym and coach. Injuries often occur when inexperienced athletes attempt moves they’re not ready to execute. Be sure your coach challenges you but doesn’t push you to the point of injury.
- Get the gear – ask your coach and other professionals about the safest gear to get, such as hand grips, foot pads, or any special footwear you might need. Always wear them.
- Don’t ignore any pain – if you think you have an injury, or you are hurting in any way, do not continue your exercise.
If you’re venturing into the fun exciting world of gymnastics or thinking about starting any other sport, check in with us here at Maple Springs Foot Center. To get in touch, request an appointment online or call our office conveniently located in Gaithersburg, MD at 301-762-3338.