How playing cricket impacts on the feet We encourage and support all sports and the massive health benefits that being active provides. However, we also need to be aware of the injuries or strain that can be associated with certain sports and take action accordingly. This blog looks at cricket in particular. As with any sport involving running (whether bowling or fielding), repetitious actions can lead to stresses of all kinds in various parts of your body. Here, we™ll look at how playing cricket and the associated forces of high impact affect the feet “ the toes, ankles, muscles, ligaments, tendons and the bones that support the feet. These forces can be two to three times your bodyweight so it is easy to appreciate the damage that can be done. Other injuries can be a result of ill-fitting shoes or socks. Potential problems and when to seek the help of a podiatrist Lower back Pain in the lower back may be an indication of improper gait during actions like bowling, or of structural limitations such as leg length discrepancies (one leg longer than the other “ extremely common!). Toes ¢ Black and blue under the nail (œsubungal haematoma) may be a result of an inappropriate fitting shoe; it is not uncommon to cut a hole in the toe box area, but this is not recommended as it changes the mechanism/function of the shoe and may result in other problems ¢ Yellow/green nails: these can occur naturally or if a nail is partially lifted during a game and, if untreated, can result in unwanted bacterial and fungal growth leading to a fungal nail infection ¢ œParonychia: redness and swelling at the side of the toe mostly seen on the big toes ¢ Ingrowning toenails: redness, pain and swelling at the side of the toes sometimes accompanied by pus, bleeding etc. Pain to the sole of the foot (arch area) ¢ Plantar fasciitis is very common, particularly with the hard concrete surfaces common throughout the Middle East. The pain can be mild to severe and gets worse after long periods of standing/walking. It is usually noticeable in the mornings after rest, but sometimes it can be worse after a match or training session and mayor may not involve discomfort in the heels. ¢ Retro calcaneal tendonitis is pain at the back of the heel area and may radiate up the back of the leg a little, but not as far up as the calf. Pain to the heel Heel pain is sometimes accompanied by arch pain but can also occur on its own. The pain is usually felt in the heel area upon standing after rest and sometimes only noticed after playing. This can be as a result of over use, an underlying biomechanical malalignment (such as ankles rolling in), due to inappropriate footwear or being too worn to function properly, such as a spike protruding in the sole of the shoe. Pain to the side of the foot near the outside of the ankle This problem may be due to rubbing from inside the shoe, inappropriate shoe fitting or poor landing during the delivery of the ball while bowling. General foot problems Other problems affecting the foot can be related to hard skin on the soles of the feet called Callous and corns. These usually present with soreness over bony areas under the foot due to badly fitting footwear. It is important to remember that when areas of hard skin are identified, consultation with a podiatrist is essential as it can be easily misdiagnosed to the untrained eye. Verrucas can be commonly confused with a corn (they are viral infections) and the treatments for corns or verrucas are very different. Custom orthotics maybe required to assist with the management or treatment of some of these issues such as hard skin or foot pain. Five top foot tips for cricketers Good foot care is essential to maintaining healthy feet for your cricket game: 1. Change socks in between games to avoid the friction caused by wet socks and bacterial accumulation. 2. Wash, dry and trim toenails regularly and use a light moisturising cream (preferably containing urea) on your feet. 3. Make sure your foot wear is not too tight – you should be able to wiggle your toes. 4. Check the shoe liner regularly for any excess wear that can cause damage to feet and look at the soles of your cricket shoes for unusual wear pattern. 5. Seek professional podiatrist help for pain, structural biomechanical anomalies or other symptoms sooner rather than later. Contact the foot experts at Dubai Podiatry Centre on +971 4 3435390 “ our team of specialist Podiatrists are UK trained and qualified, and UK and DHA licensed.