Gym attendance is always at a yearly high in January as many people resolve to exercise more in the new year. It’s great that people want to be healthier in the new year, but jumping headfirst into a new workout routine can also put you at risk for injury. Your feet and your spine are two areas that are most susceptible to injury when you’re becoming more active, and since we specialize in one of those two areas, we decided to share some tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries when starting a new workout routine.
Foot Injury Risks With New Workouts
Regardless of whether you’re jumping into a new routine or building on an established workout, it’s important to keep some tips in mind to keep your ankles, feet and whole body safe from injury. Not every single injury will be preventable, but by following these tips, you can greatly reduce your risk of injury.
1. Slowly Increase Your Workload – You may be super committed to your health in the new year and eager to start racking up the miles on the track, but remember that you need to start slow. Your body may not be ready go jump into a five-mile run, so start with shorter runs and build up your distance over time. Overstress injuries in the form of doing too much, too soon are quite common this time of year. Slowly build up your distance or your exercise duration so that the shock to your body isn’t too extreme.
2. Right Footwear For The Job – Make sure that you invest in a quality shoe that can handle repeated workouts. Don’t just assume that your old running shoes will still be up to the task, especially if you’re taking on a new challenge like CrossFit. Find a shoe that conforms to your foot shape and provides ample padding so that running and jumping won’t overstress the heel and pad of your feet.
3. Stretch – Stretching is great for your whole body, but it can also help to prevent lower body injuries in your hamstrings, calf muscles and feet. Take a couple minutes before diving into your workout to prepare your muscles for the activity to come. Tight lower body muscles can lead to strains and tears, so slowly get your body ready for the upcoming movements by stretching head to toe.
4. Cross Train – You may have a New Year’s resolution that focuses on getting bigger biceps or calf muscles, but don’t just focus on one area of your body with one specific workout. Doing the same workout and only focusing on certain muscle groups can lead to muscle imbalance, which can increase your likelihood of injury. For example, if your hamstrings are very strong but your glutes are weak due to how you train, you may be at risk for a glute injury as energy is transferred throughout your body during athletic activity. Find a whole body workout or switch between upper body and lower body workouts to help muscle groups develop uniformly.
5. Treat Pain – Soreness is a sign of a great workout, but pain means there is an issue. If you develop pain in your foot, ankle or elsewhere in your body, stop your workout and give your body some time to heal. If pain lingers, contact a foot or ankle specialist like Dr. Silverman for more hands-on care. Don’t let a small problem snowball because you tried to push through the pain. Contact Silverman Ankle & Foot for more information.