Are Your Baseball Cleats Putting You At Risk?
Baseball season is in full swing (no pun intended), and with so many children, teens and adults ready to run the bases, sport-related foot injuries are also on the rise. Baseball cleats pose their own set of challenges for the lower leg, but with a few tips and tricks, you can reduce or eliminate foot pain and risk for injury.
It may come as no surprise that adults who take up the game later in life are more apt to sustain an injury than children who start early. Individuals with pre-existing foot conditions should always consult their podiatrist prior to starting a new sport or exercise regimen, such as baseball. Your podiatrist can also perform a thorough gait analysis to determine any abnormalities in the way you walk and run that may affect your game.
Because baseball involves quick starts and stops, pivots and turns, jumps and lunges, stretching the legs and ankles are critical in avoiding strains, sprains, and hairline fractures. If your muscle pulls in the calf, for example, it can cause an uneven gait, which might lead to blistering or soreness of the feet, especially when wearing tight, form-fitting cleats.
You or your teammates should also always perform an inspection of the playing field, looking for things like holes and divets in the outfield, tripping hazards in the base path and other debris that could cause a trip and fall. Remember, if you’re in the outfield, you’ll be looking up almost all of the time and may not see a change in the landscape before it’s too late.
Children aren’t completely out of the woods when it comes to safety. Younger players should wear molded cleats made of rubber whenever possible rather than steel spiked cleats. Spikes can be quite dangerous if children are casually playing and not paying attention. Contusions can also be the result of sliding base runners colliding with a baseman’s ankle. They should avoid wearing cleats off of the field or for long periods of time, as they are very tight by design and while the spikes on the bottom of the shoe are for grip on the field, they can become slippery and dangerous off the field.
Because the soles of cleats are raised by the spikes, they also leave the ankle prone to sprains, especially in children who are still learning to walk and run in them. Secondly, it is never recommended to have your child wear second-hand cleats. This is due to the wear pattern on both the sole and insole of the shoe created by each child’s foot that can cause gait abnormalities, blisters, arch and/or heel pain in the child wearing them second-hand.
Lastly, it is a good idea to have your cleats sized professionally as to ensure proper fit. There should be no breaking in period. In children and adults alike, check for irritation, redness, blisters, numbness in the toes or other pain. If your cleats cause pain, discontinue wearing them for a few days and if the symptoms return when wearing them again, it’s time to see a podiatrist to determine what is causing the discomfort.
The good news is that if you have sustained a foot injury because of your cleats, our specialists are trained specifically in foot and ankle care. Request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists by clicking here or call any of our convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad.
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