Why Would You Need A Sports Podiatrist?
Athletes like to push their bodies to new limits and sports come with a fair share of risks!
Sometimes when things don’t quite go to plan, an injury can happen that can hold you back from doing what you love.
Other times you just want to make sure you’re moving as efficiently as possible. Either way, a sport podiatrist can help.
What Is a Sports Podiatrist?
A podiatrist’s main goal is to keep people mobile.
A sports podiatrist is a podiatrist who has an interest in sports and has completed further training to enable them to treat conditions and soft tissue injuries associated with sporting injuries.
The goal remains the same, to keep you and your feet mobile, but they’ll have more skills available to treat your sporting injuries and assess your lower limb biomechanics and lower limb injuries.
At Erica Dash Podiatry, all of our podiatrists have a particular interest in sports podiatry – as it is a prerequisite to gaining employment with the company.
We have invested in technologies to offer the best treatments options on the Central Coast.
This allows our podiatrists to offer one or a combination of the following treatment options for sporting related foot problems:
Orthotic therapy is all about working from the ground up. Orthotics will alter your gait and change how your body responds under load.
Orthotic prescriptions made by our podiatrists are customised to your specific needs.
Using a customised device, compared to a prefabricated one is much more effective at improving your efficiency of movement in sports as well as distributing load more equally and reducing loads on muscles.
By spreading out those loads, muscle effort is more efficient as well and will prevent overuse style injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis or shin splints.
Before an orthotic is made for you, a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis is completed to see how exactly you move through space.
Once your podiatrist has determined what you need, a cast will be made using a thermal moulding process and using an orthotic template, an insole will be made to correct your foot position.
Your podiatrist will then finish the device for you and fit them straight into your footwear.
Orthotics are often used to treat the cause of an injury, but are not the only part of your treatment plan.
What About Shoes & Footwear?
Shoes play a crucial role in sport. A lot of the time, people feel overwhelmed by the vast selection of shoes that are available to buy and choose from. Podiatrists understand this.
If you’re wondering what shoes you should buy, a great place to start is knowing your foot type and how your body functions during gait.
By having your gait analysed by a podiatrist, you can find out what type of shoe will work best for you and the sport you take part in.
Also, the type of shoe may change depending on other things as well, such as if you are needing an orthotic.
So the best place to start is to have a biomechanical assessment done by a podiatrist, bring your shoes along that you currently use so we can have a look at them as well and we will advise you from there.
As part of your overall management plan, manual therapies are an excellent tool that can be used alongside orthoses as well as on their own.
When you have been functioning in a compromised state for a long time, your body develops “bad habits” in muscle function.
This can cause different muscle groups to become injured or tight, and manual therapies can help to correct this.
Generally speaking, most people will need multiple sessions to get the most out of manual therapy treatments.
Usually this can involve 5 treatments or more depending on your injury history. We have further information regarding each treatment type on our website if you want to know more about each one.
What Types Of Athletes Do We See?
The vast majority of the athletes we see participate in sports that involve running.
This includes track and field athletes, elite and recreational runners, netball, football, soccer and basketball athletes. Essentially any athlete that plays a sport that involves running or jumping.
Although sports with a running and jumping component are the majority of athletes we treat, we also treat athletes with muscle and soft tissue injuries from other sporting backgrounds.
Some examples include swimming, cycling, gymnastics and weightlifting. Essentially, we are lower limb experts and if your injury involves a structure from the hip down, we can help.
When Should I See A Sports Podiatrist?
Below is a list of possible reasons to see a sports podiatrist. This list is by no means all inclusive, but it can give you an idea of some of the things that we treat.
Tendonitis / Tendinopathy Of A Muscle
Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendon of a muscle.
This can affect any muscle but common ones that we see include achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, tibialis anterior tendinitis and posterior tibial tendonitis.
Plantar Fasciitis / Fasciopathy And Heel Pain
(includes hip joint pain, knee joint pain, ankle and foot joint pain) – Joint pain can be caused by a number of factors including poor movement patterns, high pressure or arthritis.
Meniscal tears of the knee are also a common cause of knee pain.
Ankle Ligament Sprains
Very common in running sports. This involves a sprain to the ligaments of an ankle joint. Proper rehabilitation and support is required to protect these structures and prevent further injury in the future.
Can be caused by overuse of a muscle group, poor movement patterns or be a precursor to more serious injury.
Improve Movement Efficiency
To have your gait analysed and see whether you are functioning to the best of your ability.
Plantar Plate Tear
This injury often involves the plantar plate of the 2nd toe joint but can happen to any of the toe joints. Can often be quite painful, and cause inflammation of the affected joint.
Neuroma is a thickening of a nerve that results in impingement and pain.
One of the most common sites for a neuroma in the body is in the forefoot, and podiatrists treat this on a regular basis and are experts at treating this condition.
Trigger Point/Taut Muscle Bands/Fascial Dysfunction
This is caused by a dysfunction in the fasciocytes that release hyaluronic acid. This acid helps lubricate the fascial layer between muscles.
If there is a dysfunction in this process, a trigger point or taut band in the muscle tissue can occur causing pain.
This is an inflammation of a bursae. A bursae is a fluid filled sack that provides cushioning between bones, tendons and/or muscles.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)
This is an overuse injury of muscles, tendon and bone tissue along the shin bone (tibia).
This is generally known as “shin splints” and is often seen in running sports and track and field athletes.
… And many more! If you have any questions and would like to investigate further, do not hesitate to contact the clinic and make an appointment with one of our wonderful podiatrists today.
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. We also have effective treatment offers for kids.