Sports medicine specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to participating in sports and/or exercise, specifically the rotation or deformation of joints or muscles caused by engaging in such physical activities.
A sports podiatrist may have undertaken a three-year degree course in podiatry, followed by a combination of practical work experience and post-graduate qualifications.
When you call a podiatrist to book an appointment, you can ask whether they specialise in sports podiatry.
Did you know?
Knowledge of sports science is important in treating the sportsperson effectively. When a sportsperson throws a discus, you need to know where the weight load on the body is greatest, the way the foot twists – in other words, specific knowledge of the way the muscles, bones and soft tissues interact for that particular sport.
The field of sports medicine can be diverse. A sportsperson may follow certain training routines, be on a particular diet, or be under pressure from family to achieve success – so psychology and physiology can be important parts of podiatric sports medicine too, along with other disciplines.
Who can benefit from sports podiatry?
With the use of gyms becoming increasingly popular, it is no surprise that more and more people are seeking the advice of sports podiatrists. As well as the professional sportsperson, the recreational or weekend sportsperson can equally benefit from sports podiatry.
What common problems occur?
Mr Dunning says, “I regularly see many patients with overuse problems, varying from acute to long-term chronic conditions.” Shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, back pain, heel pain can all be common problems for the sportsperson.
What can a podiatrist do?
A podiatrist will assess and manage the podiatric needs of the sportsperson and the sport. He may carry out a physical biomechanical assessment, which looks at the way the bones, muscles, and associated structures such as tendons are aligned and interact. He may also look at factors such as stability, body posture and other musculoskeletal factors. He will take into account the type of sport and provide advice on what the patient can do for themselves, such as stretching and strengthening exercises.
What can other health professionals do?
Sports podiatrists often work in a team with dieticians, physiotherapists, sports science specialists and sports masseurs, where each team member has his own area of expertise. A podiatrist may refer you to one of these specialists when it may prove to be beneficial for you