For two weeks every four years, millions of Americans huddle around the television to watch the biggest names of the Summer Olympics compete for gold. Athletes like Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, and Kerri Walsh Jennings generate huge interest in their respective sports, and as a result, cause a spike in youth participation. Many people have swum or played volleyball recreationally, but how many are familiar with gymnastics and its impact on our feet and ankles?
Gymnastics involves many high-impact exercises and landings in which large amounts of force and energy are transferred to the feet and ankles. In addition, gymnasts often wear tighter shoes and bandages for stability and traction. All of the above contribute to the development of certain foot and ankle conditions, including:
- Ankle sprains, which occur when the ligaments that connect the bones of the ankle are stretched or torn by a twist or roll.
- Heel pain, from repeated landing and planting on the same part of the foot.
- Blisters, or fluid-filled bubbles that form in response to friction or burns to protect the skin from dirt and germs.
- Calluses, or thickened skin,that result from persistent pressure on a particular area and cause irritation if the pressure is not relieved.
- Athlete’s foot, from wearing tight shoes that create the perfect dark and moist conditions for bacteria to grow.
Although the list of possible foot and ankle ailments associated with gymnastics might seem overwhelming, the vast majority of them can be treated by taking preventative measures like stretching, changing socks frequently, and knowing when to rest and ice the injury.
Unfortunately, there may be times when the swelling from a sprain just won’t go down, or when a wound or blister doesn’t seem to heal. In these circumstances, you want the assistance of a seasoned, board-certified podiatrist like Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry. In addition to the above conditions, Dr. D’Amico can take care of sports injuries, plantar fasciitis, and more at his Fayetteville office. He specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, so patients of all ages can get the treatment they need. Please contact us or call us at (315) 446-3668 with any questions, concerns, or appointment requests!