You probably know — or at least should know — that a podiatrist is a kind of doctor that focuses on the ankle and feet. Just like other kinds of doctors, however, podiatrists also sometimes have subspecialties it can be helpful to know more about. If you’re an active person, then one kind of podiatrist you should definitely be familiar with is a sports podiatrist.
Sports podiatrists can handle all the normal problems that podiatrists frequently deal with, such as corn, callous and ingrown toenail treatment. But they tend to focus more specifically on movement and performance, something that may be useful to you whether you’re a professional athlete or an occasional jogger. Here are three of the most common reasons you might want to head to your local sports podiatrist’s office:
- If You’d Like to Take Up a New Sport
If you’re thinking of starting an entirely new sport, then it might be a good idea to check in with a podiatrist and get an evaluation. Don’t be too narrow in your conception of what counts as a new sport, either; young ballet dancers who want to continue their training en pointe, for example, often need clearance from a podiatrist who has taken x-rays and performed an exam to make sure there will be no permanent damage to the feet.
- If You’re in Pain From a New Sport
It’s normal for feet to get sore if you’re using them, just like any other part of the body, but you shouldn’t actually be in pain. If you’ve started a new activity and it seems like your body isn’t adjusting to it, then getting a medical assessment is the right move. It’s important to note that this may occur even if your activity level isn’t extremely high — in fact, you’re more likely to have pain if you’re a generally sedentary person who has started jogging than if you’re a pro athlete who has added an extra day of training per week. A podiatrist can do everything from assessing structural problems in your feet to recommending new shoes and prescribing orthotics.
- If You Want to Improve Performance
Seeing a podiatrist isn’t just about addressing pain, either. If you’re looking to take your performance in a sport to the next level, you should have a professional biomechanical assessment done. This will reveal the detailed workings of your lower limbs and feet, revealing strengths and inefficiencies you can exploit and correct, respectively.
Why else might an athlete of any level want to see a sports podiatrist? Join the discussion in the comments.