Among the physical obstacles athletes can face are conditions that affect the feet. Many of these problems can be avoided with good preventive care.
Some common injuries such as sprains, strains and fractures result in painful movement and
swelling. These conditions trigger an inflammatory response that will
often prohibit further activity and may require a long layoff from a
Another group of conditions
that specifically affect the skin, soft tissues and nails may not
prohibit activity but can impede optimal performance. Surprisingly, many
of these problems are avoidable.
foot is the result of a fungal infection that typically begins in the
web area between the toes. A warm, dark, humid environment is a perfect
setting for a fungal infection.
with friction from ill-fitting shoes. The inflamed area can easily
breakdown and become infected with a variety of organisms. These are
particularly dangerous in athletes with diabetes who may have impaired
When toenails grow into the fleshy
borders of the nails they become ingrown and can be a painful site of
infection. The toenails are also potential areas for fungal infection,
creating a condition known as onchomycosis.
of these problems can be avoided through regular inspection of the feet
and proper trimming of the nails. Professional foot care may be
Drs. Karla and Michael Scanlon,
podiatrists from eastern Connecticut, offer advice for optimal foot
health. After events, wash and dry feet thoroughly and allow sneakers to
air-dry completely. Use moisture-wicking socks and change them when
damp. Always wear shower shoes when using a public facility. Use Lysol
liberally on them and other athletic footwear at least once weekly.
Practicing good foot hygiene can keep athletes performing at their best.