Post-sports foot care goes well beyond just a shower. In fact, cleaning and drying your feet is just one part of what is an ideal post-sports foot care routine. Proper hygiene is essential to keep your feet and skin healthy and to avoid common foot conditions.
From hockey change rooms to sweating inside your shoes for hours, sports present a noteworthy challenge for general foot hygiene. It not only takes proper precaution – like wearing the right shoes – but it requires discipline as well as consistency. After all, it only takes one careless instance to get something like warts from a shared public space like a swimming pool, gym shower, or locker room.
Sports-Related Foot and Skin Conditions
Overview of foot and skin conditions that are common when participating in sports
Sports are among the leading causes of foot and skin conditions, whether it’s during or after the game/activity. These are some of the leading injuries and conditions:
- Blisters: A blister is a small fluid-filled bubble that forms just under the outer layer of the skin.
- Athlete’s foot: Tinea pedis, commonly known as Athlete’s foot, is a contagious fungal skin infection that can affect the skin on the soles of the feet and/or between the toes.
- Fungal toenail: A fungal toenail is a fungal infection of the nail. It can cause the toenail to become thick, discoloured, brittle, and fragile. As the fungal infection grows, it can crack the nail or even lift it off the nail bed. This can cause pain and discomfort.
- Discoloured toenail: A discoloured toenail is the result of any number of toe conditions including subungual hematoma (bruising or bleeding under the nail), complications from an ingrown toenail, or a fungal nail infection
- Achilles tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that occurs when the Achilles tendon (the tendon at the back of the ankle that connects your heel to your calf) becomes inflamed.
- Heel spur: A heel spur (also known as a “calcaneal spur”) is a bony growth that protrudes on the underside of the heel bone.
- Foot odour: Bromhidrosis occurs when your feet have an unusual and unpleasant smell. It can be a sign of poor hygiene, fungal or bacterial infection. It can be commonly associated with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Plantar Warts: Warts are a contagious viral skin condition that is typically contracted in public spaces like swimming pools, gym showers, locker rooms, and change rooms. You can get them when your foot comes into contact with an infected surface.
For a comprehensive list of common injuries and conditions by sport – from tennis to soccer – read our comprehensive guide on sports and injuries.
What It Looks Like: A Post Sports Foot Care Routine
Seven suggestions for a sports foot care routine
- Use a gentle soap and clean between your toes. After bathing, thoroughly dry your feet. This helps keep fungus and bacteria at bay. A nasty case of athlete’s foot can keep you from training. Products such as Gehwol Refreshing Foot Bath counteract sore, aching, and sweaty feet while invigorating tired feet, soothing sore feet, and eliminating any unpleasant burning sensation.
- Change your socks often. That might mean several times a day if you train often or your feet tend to sweat a lot. Socks with special pads or moisture-wicking properties are highly recommended.
- Keep your socks, slippers, or flip-flops on. Public places like swimming pool areas are prime grounds for warts, athlete’s foot, fungus, and bacterial infections. When barefoot, clean and dry your feet afterward.
- Your shoes should be as clean as your socks. Never leave your sports equipment and footwear in a dark, damp place (like your bag). Dry them out as soon as possible and have more than one pair if possible. You can use disposable liners and remove them after use. You can also use foot powder to help prevent foot odour and to help draw moisture away from the skin, like Gehwol Foot & Shoe Deodorant. It’s an antifungal spray that’s perfect for sports players. You can spray it into your shoes or on your feet when you’re on the go.
- Keep your toenails trimmed. Cut your toenails like a pro. Wash and dry your feet first, use the proper toenail clippers, and clip straight across while filing jagged edges. For more assistance, we offer complete nail care treatment here at the clinic. No referral is necessary.
- Monitor your feet: Foot conditions like calluses and corns are the result of constant pressure and friction on your feet. Check your feet regularly to see if you spot early signs of these foot issues. A foot file is a great way to gently buff away any rough, dry, and calloused skin.
- Blister control: Blisters are among the most common sports-related foot condition. These are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the uppermost layer of the skin. The blisters on your feet are most often caused by friction from shoes, although they can also occur as a result of extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, and certain medical conditions. If you get a blister, don’t pop it. Instead, wear shoes that reduce pressure in the area of concern, and cover it with a band-aid or gauze will provide added protection. You can also use Moleskin to help reduce friction.
Choose The Right Footwear
Investing in your feet starts with the proper footwear, both in terms of usage, and in fit
A foot care routine starts before issues arise. Footwear is the most important piece of equipment for your feet. Why not invest in a pair that fits, and keeps you injury-free? There are shoes designed specifically for each sport so choose accordingly.
In fact, ill-fitting shoes are the leading cause of foot pain and foot problems: 8 out of 10 people’s shoes fit incorrectly. At Feet First Clinic we put your feet first: feet are the foundation of your body and choosing footwear that fits properly is critical for preventing injury. We carry a variety of leading footwear brands and offer a free shoe fitting so you leave with the perfect pair.
Every footcare routine should start with the right pair of shoes.
Know When To Stop
Holding back can help prevent injury and foot conditions down the road
Proper discipline can stop most foot conditions and injuries in their tracks. Many foot conditions arise from repetitive trauma to a specific area without adequate rest. Allowing your body to rest and recover after playing sports ensures your feet have enough time to recover.
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