Heel Pain during Gymnastics
Athletes are at a high risk for experiencing heel pain and foot related injuries because of the high impact nature of the activities they perform. The activities they participate in put a lot of stress on their feet, so it is customary for them to experience heel pain and foot pain. Usually, we assume that runners are most at risk for feet injuries. However, gymnasts are actually at a very high risk as well.
Gymnastics is a unique sport that is performed with minor, if any, foot support. Therefore, the feet are more at risk for injury during the various exercises. Nearly every activity in gymnastics is considered high impact and could lead to heel pain.
While the sport of gymnastics does require a lot of flexibility and physical strength, it also requires a lot of balancing on the feet, hard landings on the feet, and several different jumping activities. It is somewhat ironic that a sport that is known for such grace can lead to so much pain, including the severe heel pain that many gymnasts commonly suffer from.
Protecting The Feet During Gymnastics
In order to minimize heel pain, it is important that these gymnasts protect their feet during gymnastic activities. While they may not be able to wear shoes, they can ensure that their feet are taped properly for activities. Also, they can take advantage of the specific shoes made for certain events. For example, apparatus shoes are used a gymnast performs a dismount. In this situation, the gymnast's feet will come in contact with a heavy surface. Also, vault shoes are sole padded shoes. When a gymnast performs a vault, they help to absorb the shock of a hard landing. This can effectively minimize heel pain.
After Practice Or Competition
In addition, it is important that a gymnast takes care of the heel pain from gymnastics after practice or competition has ended. This is one of the reasons you see gymnasts icing the bottom of their feet after their events. Ice helps reduce the inflammation on the bottom of their feet, decreasing heel pain. Also, foot stretches are always recommended. And if heel pain gets unmanageable, these gymnasts may need to stay off their feet for a few days.