The Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Championships are rapidly approaching for Columbus athletes hoping to qualify for the competition being held in their backyard at the Jesse Owns Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University. Keeping their feet healthy until June 1st when competition begins will be a key goal for track and field athletes whose feet may be feeling worn down after a long year that has already included indoor track and cross country competitions for many.
While some injuries such as a traumatic ankle fracture or stress fracture in the foot may force an athlete to end their season early, there are many minor aches and pains of the foot and ankle that can be avoided or relieved to achieve optimal levels of performance at competition. Athletes should notify their coach and their podiatrist at the first sign of foot pain so that injuries can be prevented from becoming more serious by continuing to run and compete with them.
Track spike sneakers are used to gain better traction and speed for athletes running every distance from the 100M hurdles to the 2 mile. Unfortunately, the advantage gained through using these special lightweight shoes can cause injuries or irritate already existing conditions. In order to offer athletes the advantage of having less weight to carry in their feet, all track spikes sacrifice cushioning and support. However, distance track athletes should be sure to select track spikes made specifically for their increased distances which offer the extra support needed to get athletes through the longer race. The lack of padding in track spikes can cause irritation or bone bruises of the heel bone and the bones at the ball of the foot, as well as heel pain from plantar fasciitis. The decreased height of the heel of a track spike compared to a normal training sneaker can also cause Achilles tendonitis from the increased distance that the calf muscles have to pull across while racing in spikes. All of these injuries can be prevented by wearing track spikes only during competition. While some athletes may enjoy doing their speed workouts in their spike sneakers, at this point in the season having healthy feet will be more important than going a few seconds faster during a workout. For bone bruises and tendonitis, a thin custom orthotic may be fitted to be worn inside the racing spikes to prevent further irritation. One more obvious injury that many distance runners suffer while breaking out of the pack at the start of a race is cuts or open wounds from being accidentally hit by a competitor’s or their own sharpened spikes. While these injuries may be minor, they should always be cleaned and disinfected to prevent infection from occurring in the foot and ankle.
By following these few simple tips, Columbus athletes should be able to continue to wear their spikes and perform to the best of their ability all the way to the state meet! Good luck to all of Ohio’s track and field competitors from Columbus Podiatry and Surgry!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.