The 2019 AFL Grand Final is fast approaching at the MCG, and we can’t wait to see who will top the finals list and take it out. Today, we thought we’d turn our attention to the other growing list in AFL – the 2019 injury list

 

Given the volume of injuries that has seen even professional players out for games or even seasons, we thought we’d share our top four AFL injuries that social players come to us for help with – and what you can do to help prevent them.

 

1. Hamstring Injury

This season, hamstring injuries have seen 15 premiership players sit out a game, or the season, due to hamstring injuries. Most commonly, this is a hamstring strain that occurs when the hammies are placed under excess tension that leads to tears in the muscle fibres. With the constant kicks and running in AFL, this is a high-risk injury that can feel like a burning or sharp pain at the back of the thighs. Our patients may also experience bruising and swelling in this area.

 

Prevention tip: Make sure you warm up the hamstrings and stretch well before and after every game and practice. Work on strengthening not just the hamstrings, but the gluteal muscles, your hips and your calves too.

 

2. Knee Injury

As of the end of August, knee injuries have also claimed games for 15 premiership players. For our patients, the most common causes of knee injuries in AFL are:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Patella tendon injuries 

 

Your ACL is the major stabilising ligament in your knee that stops your femur (thigh bone) from sliding forward on your tibia (shin bone). When it is injured or torn, it is not only painful but can leave you feeling unstable and weak on your knee. These injuries are caused by the quick changes in direction when you’re running, as well as from tackles and collisions.

Your patella tendon connects your knee cap to the top of your tibia. It also connects to the quadriceps tendon at the knee cap, and these work together to straighten the knee when you walk and run. If you injure or tear your patella tendon, you’ll feel pain and often get swelling just below your knee. If you can no longer straighten your knee, you have likely ruptured your patella. This can occur from incorrectly landing jumps and from falls. 

 

Prevention tip: Strengthen, posture and brace. Work specifically on strengthening your quads and maintaining good mobility through your knees. Your posture and alignment during movements like squats can impact your knees – so focus on maintaining a good technique. If you feel a niggle in your knee, add protection through a brace or compression bandage when you’re training or playing a game.

 

3. Ankle Injury

Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury we see by AFL players, and this season seven premiership players have been suffering from these. Ankle (inversion) sprains occur when the foot twists inwards and the ankle rolls outwards, straining the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. 

Depending on the severity of the sprain, it can quickly become very difficult to put any weight on the ankle, and it may swell or bruise. It is the quick changes in direction throughout the game that make this a common injury, but if it’s not well-managed, may turn into chronic ankle instability.

 

Prevention: Taping, bracing, strengthening and footwear. If your ankles feel weak or you have suffered ankle sprains previously, taping or bracing the ankles to improve stability and reduce the likelihood of further injury is a great place to start. You can also work to strengthen the ankle, and ensure you wear supportive footwear that keeps the ankle firmly supported and stable inside the shoe – as opposed to soft materials that let the ankle roll around uncontrolled.

 

4. Foot Injuries

Foot injuries have brought down five AFL premiership players this season, with the most common injury among our patients and professional players being fractures. Two types of fractures need mentioning here – standard fractures and stress fractures. 

Standard fractures result from high impact and trauma to the bone that, in that moment, causes a bone fracture. Stress fractures develop gradually over time from repeated stress on a bone. This commonly affects the bones of the feet as small cracks begin to develop. While you’ll feel immediate pain with standard fractures, stress fractures can start as a small niggle and gradually worsen to a severe pain. 

 

Prevention: The first step is to not ignore any niggles or pains in your feet or legs. Pain doesn’t happen spontaneously – it always has a cause. When we can identify this cause, we can put the right treatment and prevention measures in place to stop it from worsening. 

The second step is to have a biomechanical assessment with video gait analysis and in most cases 3D scanning, if you’re regularly partaking in high-intensity physical activity. This will help you understand what is happening with your feet and if any areas are taking on excess pressure, which may leave them vulnerable. This can be done at your My FootDr podiatrist clinic – you can learn more by clicking here.

 

While the four we’ve mentioned are the most common injuries we see, this seasons AFL players have also sustained groin injuries, calf injuries and hip injuries. At My FootDr, we believe that prevention is key to your long-term foot health and well-being. Our teams are trained to help you recover from and prevent sports injuries, and offer innovative treatment solutions when you are injured, such as orthotic therapy,  shockwave therapy and world-class braces.

 

To book an appointment with your local My FootDr podiatrist, click here.

 

For a company committed to “healthy feet, better lives”, seeing Australian communities and individuals struggling with debilitating foot problems while not having the means to change their situation is devastating. With over 300,000 Australians trusting My FootDr to care for their feet every year, helping disadvantaged families with their lifelong form of mobility – their feet – is close to our hearts. So, for the past year, we’ve been working alongside Footscape to make a real difference for many – and we couldn’t be happier with what we have achieved together so far.

 

Today, we thought we’d share with you the impact to the lives of many Australians that has been made over the past 12 months – and the work that will continue as we extend our partnership and support for the next year. As an overview, we’re grateful to have helped deliver:

  • Over $15,000 of resources
  • $5000 of medical supplies to create foot health kits
  • Around 100 pairs of New Balance shoes for the Children’s Orthotic Project
  • Helped increase the space at their distribution centre in Rosanna, Melbourne

 

 

Children’s Orthotic Project 

With Footscape’s funding of two hundred pairs of orthotics for financially disadvantaged children with foot problems, the New Balance runners we provided were used to accommodate these orthotics and help these children with their schooling. 

 

Sock Distribution

Footscape has also distributed over 24,000 pairs of socks to the homeless, asylum seekers, Aboriginal persons, financially disadvantaged children and victims of domestic violence. This number is set to surpass 30,000 pairs by the conclusion of the 2019 calendar year – an incredible effort in such a short time.

 

Foot Care Kits

Using our donations, Footscape has now distributed 300 foot-care kits to Aboriginal persons, homeless persons and asylum seekers. These kits include tools to help promote daily self-care practices amongst disadvantaged persons at risk of foot problems. Going forward, we plan to help increase the distribution of these kits throughout various Australian regions.

 

Our Footscape Partnership For 2019-2020

We are proud to continue to support Footscape for the next year as they increase their support with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office. This will help provide runners as part of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign and promote physical activity for twenty-five identified teenage girls at risk of homelessness. 

To better understand the importance of this campaign, these girls are among DHHS’ most vulnerable as they are unable to stay with their families, be placed in care with extended family or into foster care, often due to significant behaviour issues. This makes their health and wellbeing a significant issue. Accordingly, Footscape has already organised and distributed thirty-two pairs of runners and sixty pairs of socks, and My FootDr will endeavour to continue its support for 2019-2020.

 

About Footscape 

Footscape is an Australian charity that assists disadvantaged individuals and communities predisposed to debilitating foot pathologies. You can learn more about the work they do and even get involved by clicking here.

We’re excited to see what we can do together with Footscape over the next year and will keep you updated with the work being done!

 

 

As women, we expect great things from our feet. They need to fit into tight shoes, keep us comfortable in heels, take us from work to the gym to the park with the kids – all while looking good, feeling great and staying healthy. With any expectations, come the fears of what may go wrong with our feet.

 

As podiatrists, we regularly discuss these otherwise unspoken foot fears with women looking for solutions and prevention strategies. Today, we thought we’d share the top four fears we hear, as well as share the advice we give to help prevent these fears from coming to life.

 

Fear One: Bunions

The seed for this fear is usually planted very early on in childhood, when we see our mothers or grandmothers bunions and start to wonder if our feet will turn out the same way. Bunions describe the bony bumps on the inside of the feet, by the big toes. While bunions do tend to ‘run in families’ due to similarities in the biomechanics of the feet, there’s another cause of bunions that can affect anyone – tight, ill-fitting footwear.

 

Wearing shoes that squeeze our feet, rub against our bones, or that put heavy loads through our feet can contribute to the development of bunions. High heels and pointed shoes are perfect examples. This makes our advice straightforward – avoid wearing these shoes for a prolonged time. A couple of hours out for dinner is manageable, but find a more comfortable and supportive option for throughout the day. You can find professional, stylish and comfortable women’s shoes from brands like Ziera, Naot, Vionic and Merrel. Making this switch may help prevent a bunion or slow down its progression over time.

To learn more about bunions, click here.

 

Fear Two: Fungal Nail Infection

Most of us will know at least one person who ‘picked up’ a fungal nail infection from a nail salon and watched their toenail become discoloured or flaky. The truth is that fungal nail infections can be picked up from any surface containing fungal spores. This includes public changing rooms, gyms, showers, nail tools – and even our homes if anyone living in the household has the infection. 

 

Prevention here is centred around taking steps to minimise your risk of infections. This includes:

  • Wearing slip-ons in public showers, pool areas and changing rooms
  • Avoiding sharing nail polishes that have fungal microspores inside the bottle
  • Avoiding sharing shoes and socks with anyone in your household with the infection
  • Avoiding nail salons where the tools are not sterilised and the surfaces are not disinfected between customers

 

If a fungal nail infection does take hold, we recommend treating it as early as possible, before it affects the entire nail. Treatments like laser therapy are safe, pain-free and have shown exceptional results in clinical studies for successful clearance rates.

To learn more about fungal nail infections, click here.

 

Fear Three: Sweaty, Smelly Feet

We’ve all experienced sitting next to someone who removes their shoes and leaves a lingering, unpleasant odour. Our feet have around 250,000 sweat glands. When combined with closed-in shoes, socks and Australia’s humidity, it’s not surprising that our feet become sweaty. When the sweat isn’t effectively absorbed, bacteria can grow and create a bad odour. 

 

Keeping our feet as dry and ventilated as possible is key. This can include:

  • Changing socks regularly and wearing cotton or breathable socks that draw moisture away from the feet
  • Airing your feet when possible
  • Using powders or other agents to help keep your feet dry 
  • Changing between shoes daily so they can dry

To learn more about why smelly feet develop, click here.

 

Fear Four: Rough, Painful Cracked Heels

When we notice harder patches of calloused skin on our feet, our minds may jump to wondering whether we’re headed towards developing painful cracks, too. For cracked heels to develop, our heels must first develop a thick, dry layer of callus. Callus is caused by increased pressure or friction to an area of the foot. As more force, often from weight-bearing, is applied to the callus, it may ‘crack’. While some cracks can be unnoticeable, others may be painful and even bleed if they break the healthy skin beneath the callus.

 

The key to preventing cracked heels is to manage any callus on the heels before it becomes a problem. This can be done by:

  • Reducing excess force through the heels, e.g. wearing cushioned, supportive footwear
  • Moisturising the heels daily to help prevent dryness
  • Having the callus removed professionally by your My FootDr podiatrist

To learn more about cracked heels, click here.

 

If you have any other concerns with your feet or legs that you’d like professional advice or care for, get help from your local My FootDr podiatry team. Your podiatrist will work with you to help relieve any current pains or problems, and help with prevention strategies for any concerns you have. 

 

To make an appointment, you can book online here or call 1800 FOOTDR today.