How Playing Team Sports Impacts Your Feet
Team sports are among the most popular ways to stay fit in the U.S. today. From recreational athletes to student-athletes to professional athletes, we love team sports. One in four adults regularly plays a team sport, whether that’s baseball (26 million people), basketball (24 million),football (5 million), or soccer (4 million). It’s safe to say, we love team sports.
But regularly participating in a team sport has its risks alongside its benefits. In this article we’re going to examine these risks and rewards. Specifically, how playing team sports impacts your feet.
Here atFitMyFoot, we care about foot health and are advocates of taking care of your feet by wearing proper footwear. This helps to prevent injury and allow you to focus on what matters - your sporting performance!
What are the benefits of playing team sports?
- Helps you stay physically active
The currentgovernment guideline advises you toget at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
How many minutes are you getting a week? If you work at an office job, the chances are, you are more sedentary than you should be. Participating in a team sport can be a great opportunity to increase your physical activity levels in a fun and effective way.
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- Improves cardiovascular health
Key markers of your cardiovascular health include blood pressure, cardiac output, and cardiorespiratory endurance. Having good cardiovascular health helps to reduce your disease risk and risk of all-cause mortality - which means having a healthier and longer lifespan!
Studies show a clear link between people who are physically active and improved cardiovascular health.
- Social benefits
Playing team sports allows you to socialize, meet new friends, and get fit at the same time. What’s more, research shows you’re more likely to be consistent when you workout with a friend or partner.
Astudy published in 2015 examined the relationship dynamic and exercise frequency within couples that exercise regularly. Those couples whose partners regularly and consistently exercise are more likely to do the same and couples that exercise together cite healthier relationship dynamics and engage in less negative behavior patterns like smoking.
So it’s a win-win: you get a workout buddy and your partner or friend gets healthier, and your relationship becomes stronger. You don’t have to join a competitive sport to get the benefits of team sports. Find a local recreational team - it could even be something outside your wheelhouse like ultimate frisbee!
What are the risks involved in playing team sports?
Any team sport involves a few risks. These all revolve around injuries. Some sports are more risky than others. For example, basketball.
According to 2019 statistics, basketball causes the most injuries compared to any other team sport. Whether you’re playing recreationally or professionally, the rapid direction changes, jumping, lunging, and overhead play, is what makes basketball players prone to injury. The types of injuries most common include fractures, facial injuries, deep thigh bruises, ankle sprains and knee injuries.
Maybe you’ve joined a running club because you perceive running to be less risky than contact sports like hockey or football. However, you’d be mistaken. About65 percent of regular runners get hurt each year. It's estimated that the average runner will sustain one injury for every 100 hours they run.
Click here to read an article we wrote on the most common injuries experienced by athletes who play team sports.
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Why does playing team sports impact your feet?
The answer is in the question: impact! High-impact sports like the ones mentioned place a huge stress on your feet. Your feet are responsible for absorbing the impact of your body hitting the ground. They absorb and disperse the impact as it moves up your posterior chain.
Most affected by high-impact movement are your feet and ankles, which increases your risk of developing injuries like stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, and more.
There are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing a foot-related injury from team sports:
How many days a week do you play your team sport? If you’re a student-athlete or competitive athlete, the answer is likely: a lot! Even if you’re a recreational athlete, you are likely participating in your sport one or more times per week, which may be combined with other types of physical activity. In short, overtraining can lead to a number of foot issues.
Not only will you experience more swelling, tenderness, and pain; if you overtrain, you can cause lasting injuries that will take you out of your sport for months, if not years.
Taking adequate recovery days between sessions is vital to ensure your feet can recover from the stress and pressure they have been exposed to.
- Improper technique
If you’ve newly started your sport, you may yet to have picked up the right technique. This can increase your risk of damaging your feet. For example, if you’re a runner, are you running on the balls of your feet or are you running heel-to-toe? Adjusting your gait can have huge benefits, not only to your performance but also in helping your feet handle the stress of impact and prevent injury.
- Foot structure
Your feet may be over pronated or supinated - have a collapsed arch or rigid high arch - that impedes your foot’s ability to withstand pressure and impact. Knowing your foot structure can help you get the right footwear, which leads us onto our next point...
- Improper footwear
Wearing the wrong footwear for your foot structure can cause lasting damage. You may make your feet worse - for example exacerbating any natural overpronation that may be occurring by not wearing footwear with adequate arch support.
FitMyFoot has recently come out with Comfort Plus Slides that are custom each foot. These have been specially designed as a recovery shoe for athletes to wear between games, after-training, or for performing day-to-day activities.
They are the world’s first custom slides made to order from your smartphone - custom to every curve of your foot to keep them supported, to absorb impact, and assist your foot in recovering from physical activity.
WearingFitMyFoot Comfort Plus Slides will help to support your feet and lessen the burden of team sports. Your feet deserve it.