Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries - Prevention

The following tips may prevent toe, foot, or ankle injuries.

Toe, foot, and ankle tips

  • Avoid problems by wearing good footwear. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Do not walk barefoot in areas such as streets and parks where you have an increased risk of stepping on an object.
  • Use a rubber mat to stand on if your work requires you to stand on hard surfaces. This will help to reduce stress on your feet.
  • Buy new running shoes often. Experts recommend getting new athletic shoes every 3 months or after 500 miles of wear. Overworn shoes may not absorb shock well or provide traction or protection.
  • Reduce your risk of reinjury by wrapping your foot or ankle or wearing a supportive brace during activities or exercises where injury is a risk.
  • Prevent blisters caused by poorly fitting shoes or socks.
  • Do exercises for heel pain and tightness. This is especially important for athletes before they participate in sports. It is also helpful for people who are not involved with sports.
  • To help prevent foot injuries and problems:
    • Wear good athletic shoes, such as shoes with cushioned soles (especially heels) and good arch support. Physical therapists, orthopedists, podiatrists, and sports medicine health professionals can advise you.
    • Buy new shoes every few months, because padding wears out. Also buy new shoes if the tread or heels wear down. The expense is worth preventing ongoing (chronic) foot or ankle problems.
    • Be reasonable in your training:
      • Stretch your foot, ankle, and leg muscles before and after exercise.
      • Avoid rapidly increasing the number of miles you run, running or training uphill, and running on hard surfaces, such as concrete.
      • Avoid excessive sprinting (short, rapid bursts of running).
  • Never cut calluses and corns with a razor or a pocketknife.
  • Avoid foot problems or injuries, especially if you have diabetes.

Reduce falls

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General prevention tips

  • Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
  • Wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer to prevent injuries for you or your child. Supportive splints may reduce your risk of injury.
  • Maintain a reasonable weight for your height.
  • Stretch before and after physical exercise, sports, or recreational activities to warm up your muscles.
  • Walk regularly to improve circulation, increase flexibility, reduce fatigue, and encourage bone and muscle development.
  • Use the correct techniques (movements) or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles.
  • Avoid overusing your foot and ankle with repeated movements that can injure your bursa or tendon. In daily routines or hobbies, examine activities in which you make repeated movements.
  • If you feel that certain activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, talk to your human resources department for information on alternative ways of doing your job or to discuss equipment modifications or other job assignments.

Keep your bones strong

  • Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli; and other foods.
  • Exercise and stay active. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights, for 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin slowly, especially if you have not been active. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
  • Do not drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman. People who drink more than this may be at higher risk for weakening bones (osteoporosis). Alcohol use also increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis. It also interferes with blood supply and healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

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Possible abuse

Injuries such as bruises, burns, fractures, cuts, or punctures may be a sign of abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be explained or does not match the explanation, repeated injuries occur, or the explanations for the cause of the injury change. You may be able to prevent further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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