How playing football impacts on the foot
Football can place a great deal of stress on the foot and the more you play, the higher the stress. There can be a lot of friction involved, particularly when playing on surfaces such as astroturf.
Football boots can be stressful on the feet, particularly as most players wear a tight fit for better ball control.
It is not uncommon for a footballer to suffer with pressure points, corns, callus or ingrowing toenails as a result of football boots. This is particularly damaging for those young players who are still growing.
Potential problems and when to visit your Podiatrist
We would advise anybody actively participating in football who starts to feel pain in the foot, ankle or heel to seek the advice of a podiatrist sooner rather than later.
People tend to persevere with pain, thinking that it will go away. There is a big difference between muscular aches from a hard session and pain that reoccurs after every training session or game, or even pain that is gradually getting worse.
Any signs of pressure such as redness, blisters, hard skin or extra bone developing (osteophytic formation) definitely needs assessing. Areas to check are around the back of the heel, the toes and the base of the big toe joint.
Maintaining healthy feet for football players
Footballers often neglect their flexibility which can be important in keeping a good posture, maintaining a wide range of motion at all joints and preventing injury is particularly important in those youngsters that are still growing.
Teenagers can suffer from excruciating heel pain because they have extremely tight hamstrings or calves. Once this flexibility is increased with a good stretching programme their posture will improve, prescribed insoles/orthoses are also needed to support the feet.
Having good balance and awareness is essential for football. This can be improved by increasing the communication between the feet and the nervous system (brain). This is referred to as ‘proprioception’ and can be improved with the use of orthoses especially for those players with flat feet.