Today marks the beginning of the gymnastics competition at the 2012 Olympics in London. As TV viewers, we marvel at the jumps, twists, and dance moves gymnasts perform, as well as their sheer strength and flexibility. But it is these same maneuvers that place these athletes at a high risk for experiencing foot-related injuries and pain.
Because gymnasts perform with little to no foot support, they put a great deal of stress on their feet. And almost every event, such as the floor exercise, balance beam, vault, high bar and parallel bars, requires the gymnast to run, perform different jumps, balance on their feet, and make hard landings on their feet. All these activities can lead to pain and injuries such as calluses, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, Achilles tendinitis or ruptured Achilles tendons, sesamoiditis, Sever’s Disease, sprained muscles and broken bones.
However, there are some things that you can do as a gymnast to protect your feet and prevent injury.
- Make sure you stretch properly before practice and competitions.
- Give your feet a break a couple times a week. On those days, work on your upper body and those skills that don’t require a lot of impact on your feet, such rings, high bar or parallel bars.
- Don’t over train. You can take some time off.
- Wear apparatus shoes. These thin light shoes can provide some traction when landing off a piece of equipment, such as vault shoes which are padded to absorb the shock from vaulting and landing, and balance beam shoes which help you grip the beam. Choose shoes that fit properly and work with your foot type.
- If you prefer to tape your feet, make sure they are taped properly.
- Always be aware of how your feet feel, especially if you prefer to perform barefoot or with taped feet. If you experience any instability, decreased flexibility, tenderness, inflammation, bruising, warmth and/or redness of your skin, or swelling of the joints in your feet, notify your coach. If your foot pain is severe, see your doctor for an evaluation.
- If you feel foot pain, apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes to reduce pain and inflammation. Then wrap your foot in an elastic bandage and elevate it.
- Don’t return to practices or competition unless your injury has properly healed. Otherwise you’ll increase your risk of further injury and the possibility of a stress fracture.
- If you have flat feet or high arches, have your feet analyzed by certified professional. You may benefit from wearing custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles. These insoles are biomechanically designed to realign your body, providing your feet with a proper foundation in your shoes. Custom arch supports also increase your balance and stability while helping to reduce or eliminate foot pain.
By following these steps, you’ll reduce your risk of injuries so you can continue training and competing, while protecting your feet.
For more information on ezWalker® Performance Insoles, visit our website. No matter what type of shoes you wear, there’s an ezWalker® that can provide you with pain relief. So order yours today! You’ve got nothing to lose but your pain.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.