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How to Keep Fit and Injury Free

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After a tough day at work, many people think there is nothing better than heading out for a run, joining a game of basketball with friends, or hitting the gym for a cardio or spin class.

The enjoyment, relaxation and health benefits of recreational sports are well documented and millions of us participate in a variety of sports and fitness activities each day. However, each year more than 1.2 million Canadians are sidelined from their favourite sports activities because of injuries that may have been prevented.

Recreational athletes are at increased risk of injury as they often fail to train sufficiently for the sports they participate in and many of them don’t invest the time or money, to ensure they are wearing the proper footwear for their sport. Buying supportive, stable footwear will eliminate a range of problems from minor discomfort such as blisters, corns and calluses to more serious conditions including repetitive stress injuries to the joints and muscles.

Sports enthusiasts who are experiencing lower limb and foot pain should consult a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, an orthotic and footwear expert. The pedorthist will conduct a biomechanical exam, ensure they are correctly fitted with the right footwear for their sports activity and advise if an orthotic will ease any foot issues that are present.

If you are a recreational athlete, here are some tips to help keep you off the sidelines and in the game:

  • Purchase shoes that fit. Shoes that are too long, too short or too wide can affect the function of your foot.
  • Select footwear that is appropriate for your sport. If you are a jogger, purchase running shoes. If you play basketball choose shoes that are designed for side to side movement.
  • Replace your running shoes every 12 months or every 700 to 800 km. The cushioning and supportive material in running shoes breaks down over time, even if they’re not being used, so make sure you replace your running shoes regularly.
  • When starting a new sport, slowly increase your activity so your lower limbs have time to properly adapt to your new activity levels.
  • If you get injured, rest, use ice and ask your physician for a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. The pedorthist will help get you back in the game.

Submitted by: Tasha Fensom, C. Ped (C), Vancouver, BC

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