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How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Stack—October 20, 2014

As an athlete, your feet take a beating. Blisters, corns, bunions, athlete's foot, broken nails, broken toes, turf toe, torn ligaments. The list of potential foot ailments an athlete can face are near endless. These issues will not only impair your sports performance, they're just as likely to keep you out of a game as knee, back or shoulder issues. To help you hurdle foot-related problems and feel your best on the field, check out the foot care game plan below.

General Foot Care Guidelines

Buy properly fitting shoes, sneakers and cleats with good cushioning. Tight footwear can rub your feet raw, making even the simplest exercises hurt like hell. When trying on footwear, don't be afraid to test them out. Jump, run, cut, etc. to get a sense if the shoe is really right for you.

How To Tackle Common Foot Problems

Treatment: Washington D.C.-based podiatrist Stephen Pribut advises "taking it easy a day or two" after developing a nasty blister to allow for healing. Although most small blisters will drain and heal naturally, larger ones might need to be popped by a health care professional—not yourself—with extreme caution to avoid infection. A blister that becomes infected can be painful, oozing pus, and red around the edges, and requires a doctor's visit
Prevention: Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., of the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, and author of The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies (2012, Rodale, Inc.), says anything that reduces friction in the area will prevent blisters. He suggests wearing double-layer socks or putting petroleum between the toes to deter blisters. Other common sense ways to avoid blisters: wearing correctly fitting footwear, keeping the feet as dry as possible, regularly changing socks or using foot powder to keep your feet dry.

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