Tips To Keep Your Feet Fit At The Gym

FREEHOLD — Now that the weather is getting colder, many people will be spending more time at the gym, keeping their bodies in shape

Dr. Gerald Mauriello, Jr., a podiatric surgeon at AOSMI (Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute), Freehold, and a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) of Advanced Foot Ankle Institute, a division of AOSMI, PC, is offering a few simple guidelines that will help keep your feet free from injury.

Start new workouts gradually— Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts gradually to avoid overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries. Dr. Mauriello says, “If you do feel you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to seek treatment right away. Untreated or repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes persistent pain and a ‘giving way’ of the ankle.”

Wear the right shoes and socks—Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. Shoes that don’t support the arch of the foot and provide cushion for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can also cause a neuroma or a thickening of the nerve tissue in the foot and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing cotton or non-slip socks are also key to help avoid painful blisters, which can become infected and cause more serious issues.

Use good exercise techniques— Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. Dr. Mauriello says, “Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains.”

Protect yourself from bacteria—Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria, including drug- resistant strains like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which has become increasingly more common. Dr. Mauriello advises to never go barefoot in public areas; water shoes can provide a great barrier between your feet and the wet surfaces.

“It’s also best to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails since these minor tears in the skin’s surface can act as entry points for bacteria,” says Dr. Mauriello. “If you have a cut or scrape that becomes red or swollen and is not healing in a timely manner, don’t hesitate to see a foot and ankle surgeon.” Dr. Mauriello cautions, “Above all, never ignore any pain or injury. Listen to your body!”

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