Sports Podiatry is a specialty which deals with the treatment of leg, ankle, knee, and feet injuries by altering the function of the lower limb by using a variety of treatment methods. The methods can include changing footwear, using insoles and different types of exercises. A skilled sports podiatrist will assess the pattern of an individual's foot strikes the ground to understand its impact on the corresponding joints.
On sustaining any types of sports injury to the lower limbs, sports podiatrist will conduct a thorough biomechanical assessment and tests to determine if the leg alignment and stability of the patient is competent to perform the activities in the particular sport. They will also look for any mechanical reasons which contribute to the injury and pain and administer necessary treatments.
You should think of visiting a sports podiatry clinic if you experience repeated injuries of the lower limb while playing any sports or doing repeated activities. Mechanical problems or body imbalance can cause problems involving your lower limbs, which needs to be corrected. The most common podiatry injuries for which patients consult Sports Podiatry are knee pain, Achilles tendon, Shin splints, etc.
Sports podiatry is inevitable for professional athletes and sportsmen. It is also advisable for recreational sports enthusiasts too who want to avoid any injury and ensure maximum performance and output. Sports Podiatry Adelaide may work closely with expert sports physiotherapists (PT) as many of the lower limb problems are closely associated with the lower back and pelvis problems.
General podiatry vs. sports podiatry vs. orthopaedics
How to decide whether to visit a sports podiatry or general podiatry or an orthopaedic clinic?
As the name suggests, sports podiatry is for people who are active in professional or recreational sports. It is also used by sportsmen for training to prevent injury during a sports event. Sports podiatrist can also help people who injure their feet or legs repeatedly during sports, which may be indicative of a mechanical issue.
While consulting a sports podiatrist, the first thing they may do is to analyse the person’s gait. They use tools like gait scanner for this which is a pressure-sensitive pad to check the feet-ground contact, a force of the steps, pressure points, and the pressure shifts while one walks. A podiatrist will also check the walking style to understand the chain of motion as to how energy flows through the body, from feet, through knees, hip, and to the back while walking. Combining objective and visual assessments of the gait, an expert podiatrist will be able to identify any imbalance or improper movements as the underlying reason for injury.
After diagnosing the problem, the podiatrist may make a personalised treatment plan to address it. It may typically include different forms of stretches and muscle-strengthening exercises. There can also be some custom orthotics insertions to correct the movements. The podiatrist may also prescribe to use proper footwear or sports shoe to ensure feet health.
However, sports podiatry is not just limited to sports and feet but can help anyone seeking for preventative help or troubled with an existing foot or lower limb issue. With non-invasive and straightforward examinations, sports podiatry is nothing to be afraid of.