Australia is a sports-loving nation, winter is a time when many of our most popular sports for both spectators & players are ‘in action’. Australians just can’t seem to get enough of AFL, Rugby League & Union plus the recent surge in netball, of course there are many other popular sports that most Aussie’s play in winter such as skiing & snowboarding just to name two. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), over 60% of Australians participate in sports and exercise programs – we just love sport.
The Medibank Private Safe Sports Report found that their member’s main motivation to exercise were (in order): general health and fitness, weight loss, to have fun and enjoy social benefits.
The report also revealed that ‘individual’ rather than ‘team-based’ activities were the most popular. This is consistent with published data from the ABS Year Book. Walking, aerobics, fitness, swimming and golf ranked among the top five participation sports/physical activities.
According to the Monash University Accident Research Centre approximately 5.2 M Australians suffer a sports-related injury each year. Surveys indicate that the most common injuries (in order) are to the knee, ankle, foot, back and shoulder. Many of these injuries arise from the very popular winter sports we play.
Statistically, sports injuries peak in the months of May, June and July. This is not surprising because cold muscles, tendons and ligaments increase your risk of sustaining injury & as well our most popular contact sports like rugby & AFL are played in these months.
Many of our winter sports cause foot & ankle injuries & this is where your local Podiatrist can help. They are experts in treating injuries of the foot & ankle from the initial acute stage to rehab & finally injury prevention.
In order to reduce the risk of a winter sports lower limb injury, your Podiatrist is most likely to recommend some or all of the following:
- Get the correct advice on the right activity program for you
- Warm up and cool down
- Have the correct equipment for your activity
- Begin slowly and gradually build up to the challenge
- Keep hydrated
- Listen to your body
- Give yourself one or two recovery days each week
- Rest an injury, don’t try to ‘work through’ the pain
- Progress at your own pace and don’t overdo it
- Get a Podiatry check-up on a regular basis
Before beginning any exercise program, it is advised that you visit with your Podiatrist, especially if you have had a previous lower limb injury or musculoskeletal condition. Your Podiatrist is trained to assess/evaluate your lower limb and offer valuable advice to assist you in preventing winter sports injuries of the lower limb.
If unfortunately, you do sustain a lower limb winter sports injury your local Podiatrist should be your first port of call. They are best trained to assess & treat your musculoskeletal injury – no wonder many professional sporting teams are adopting to have Podiatrists on staff.