Foot care for Football players, what should you be doing?
As sports people we often take our feet for granted, but whether you’re a professional or aspiring lower league footballer, a healthy pair of feet are your tools to success! Treat them well and your feet will give you a ‘lifetime’ of fun filled sports, and pain free workouts (well most of the time).
In this blog post we consulted the team at The Sidas Clinic for their advice on managing foot health in sport.
As a football player, taking care of your feet is essential for maintaining your performance, and preventing common injuries like Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, or Shin Splints. But also, to avoid foot menaces like athletes foot, blisters, corns, callus and verrucae (amongst other foot conditions).
Here are some of our foot care tips specifically tailored for football players:
Proper footwear: Invest in quality football boots that fit well and provide
adequate support. In today’s market there is a huge range of football boots out there but spend time finding the correct pair for you and the conditions or surfaces you will most likely be playing on.
It is vitally important that you make sure they fit properly! Ensure they are the right size, shape and allow enough room for your toes to move comfortably (as a rule of thumb, allow a thumbs width between your longest toe and the end of the boot. A good way to ensure this is to remove the insole and place your foot on it to see what space you have).
This may sound a bit daft to some but… secure your laces! It may be fashionable to leave them undone, but this means that your foot is unsupported correctly and could lead to injury, or your boot falling off during a game.
Socks! Don’t underestimate quality socks: Socks are, more often than not, overlooked when it comes to football footwear. It is hugely important to always wear good quality, well-fitting, moisture wicking socks. The trend now is to wear grip socks with a calf sleeve or the top of the team socks cut off to go over the top of the grip socks.
Why invest in quality socks?In short, investing in high-quality socks will provide moisture management, cushioning, support, blister prevention, better grip & traction, temperature regulation, and durability. These features will greatly improve your experience, keeping your feet comfortable, protected, and performing at their best. A quality sock in addition to other factors will keep your healthy, and dry helping to avoid fungal infections such as Athletes Foot.
Hygiene: Foot care and hygiene is essential for football players to maintain overall foot health, prevent infections, and optimise performance.
Here are some important foot care/ hygiene practices for football players:
Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent fungal infections like athlete's foot. Wash your feet daily with mild soap and water. Ensure you clean between your toes and scrub your nails (gently).
After washing thoroughly dry your feet, especially between the toes. Moisture can promote fungal and bacterial growth, leading to infections.
Applying antifungal or moisture-absorbing foot powders before putting on your socks and shoes. These can help prevent fungal infections and control excessive sweating.
Nail care: Trim your toenails regularly to avoid ingrown nails and discomfort while playing. Cut them straight across and avoid cutting them too short, as this can lead to discomfort and potential issues.
Moisturise: Apply a moisturising cream or lotion to your feet regularly to prevent dryness and cracking. Focus on the heels and any areas prone to calluses or blisters, the Sidas Anti Friction Cream is great for this as it moisturises and forms a protective barrier to reduce friction.
Blister prevention: Use blister-resistant socks or consider applying zinc oxide tape or blister pads to areas prone to friction or rubbing. Ensure your football boots fit well and aren't causing friction. Note that sweat/ excess moisture can also be a contributing factor in blisters forming.
Strengthening exercises: Incorporate exercises that strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles to improve stability and reduce the risk of strains and sprains. Strong and conditioned feet and legs are crucial for footballers to enhance performance and maintain overall athleticism.
Here are some effective foot and leg strength and conditioning exercises that soccer players can incorporate into their training routines: Examples include box jumps, calf raises, toe curls, and Ankle Stability exercise like balancing on one leg or using a wobble board.
Proper warm-up and stretching: This is a critical component of any physical activity, including football, and serves several important purposes for athletes. A proper warm-up routine can significantly enhance performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and prepare both the body and mind for the demands of the sport.
Before playing or practicing, engage in a thorough warm-up routine to increase blood flow, improve muscle flexibility, and joint range of motion, and activate your nervous system ready for the game ahead.
A well-structured warm-up should typically include several minutes of light aerobic activity (like jogging), dynamic stretches, sport-specific movements, and drills that gradually increase in intensity. Remember to perform dynamic stretches that target your lower extremities, including your feet and ankles. This is an investment in your performance and well-being. It sets the stage for a successful and safe sports experience.
Sports therapy before and after a football match can provide several benefits to your overall wellbeing and athletic performance. Sports therapy can help prepare your body and mind for optimal performance, help with recovery, reduce muscle soreness, it can also benefit your long-term health.
Consistent sports therapy can contribute to your long-term health by promoting proper biomechanical alignment, muscle balance, and joint health.
Include regularly massage therapy for your feet to promote circulation, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate any soreness or fatigue. You can book in with a sports therapist or you can use your hands, a foam roller, or even a tennis ball to roll under your foot.
Injury management: If you sustain a foot injury, such as a sprain or strain, seek appropriate medical attention and follow the recommended treatment plan. Don't rush your recovery and allow your feet time to heal properly before returning to full activity.
- Listen to your feet: Pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or abnormalities in your feet. If you experience persistent pain or notice any changes, consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
In summary… remember, foot care is crucial not only for your sports (football) performance but also for your overall well-being. By taking care of your feet (and taking it seriously), you can minimise the risk of common injuries and enjoy the beautiful game to the fullest.