Blog Netball Stepping up your game (3rd June)

Stepping Up Your Game: How Podiatrists Assist Netball Players

Introduction:

Netball, a fast-paced and dynamic sport, places significant demands on the lower limbs, particularly the feet and ankles. From sudden stops and pivots to high jumps and quick changes in direction, netball players are prone to a variety of foot and ankle injuries. In this blog post, we’ll explore the invaluable role podiatrists play in managing netball-related injuries and discuss the importance of wearing appropriate footwear for optimal performance and injury prevention.

Understanding Netball Injuries:

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Netball involves rapid acceleration, deceleration, and lateral movements, making players vulnerable to a range of foot and ankle injuries, including:

  1. Ankle Sprains: A common occurrence in netball, ankle sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the ankle stretch or tear due to sudden twists or awkward landings.
  2. Achilles Tendinitis: Overuse of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon at the back of the ankle, can lead to inflammation and pain, particularly among players who frequently jump and pivot.
  3. Plantar Fasciitis: Netball players may experience inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue connecting the heel to the toes, resulting in heel pain, especially during initial steps.
  4. Patellar Tendinitis: Also known as jumper’s knee, this condition involves irritation and inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone, often due to repetitive jumping and landing.

The Role of Podiatrists:

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Podiatrists are highly trained healthcare professionals specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders. When it comes to netball injuries, podiatrists offer a multifaceted approach to care, addressing both acute injuries and chronic conditions. Here’s how they can help:

  1. Injury Assessment: Podiatrists conduct thorough assessments to diagnose netball-related injuries, utilizing diagnostic tools such as physical examinations, requesting imaging studies, and gait analysis to determine the extent of the problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
  2. Treatment: Once the injury is identified, podiatrists employ various treatment modalities tailored to each patient’s needs. This may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE therapy), as well as physical therapy exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and proprioception. A common treatment modality we like to do is dry needling for acute injuries as often the associated muscles can tighten up after an injury.
  3. Footwear Advice: Podiatrists understand the importance of wearing proper footwear in preventing injuries and enhancing performance on the netball court. They offer guidance on selecting shoes that provide adequate support, cushioning, and stability, considering factors such as foot type, biomechanics, and playing surface.
  4. Custom Orthotics: For players with biomechanical abnormalities or structural issues, podiatrists may prescribe custom orthotic devices to correct imbalances, reduce stress on vulnerable areas of the feet, and improve overall foot function.
  5. Injury Prevention Strategies: In addition to treating existing injuries, podiatrists focus on preventing future problems by addressing risk factors and implementing injury prevention strategies. This may involve strengthening exercises, stretching routines, and biomechanical assessments to optimize performance and reduce the likelihood of injury recurrence.

The Importance of Good Shoes:

In netball, where footwork is fundamental, wearing appropriate footwear is essential for both performance and injury prevention. Here are some key considerations when selecting netball shoes:

  • Support: Look for shoes with sturdy midfoot and ankle support to minimize the risk of sprains and twists during quick movements and changes in direction.
  • Cushioning: Choose shoes with ample cushioning in the heel and forefoot to absorb impact forces and reduce stress on the joints during jumping and landing.
  • Stability: Opt for shoes with a supportive outsole and a secure fit to maintain stability and prevent excessive foot pronation or supination.
  • Fit: Ensure that the shoes fit comfortably and securely, with enough room in the toe box to prevent friction and irritation.
  • Durability: Invest in high-quality shoes made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of netball training and competition.
Blog Post Netball 4 footwear

The Asics Net burner is one of the most popular Netball shoes and for good reason.

Key features include:

  • FLEXION FIT technology in the upper flexes with the foot while holding it securely.
  • FLYTEFOAM™ Propel midsole foam and 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ provide a more cushioned feeling and better shock attenuation.
  • X GUIDANCE™ technology in the outsole helps increase flexibility while TWISTRUSS™ technology improves stability when pivoting or twisting.

Conclusion:

Netball is a physically demanding sport that places significant strain on the feet and ankles. By working closely with podiatrists and prioritizing proper footwear, players can minimize the risk of injury, optimize performance, and enjoy the game to the fullest. Whether it’s diagnosing an ankle sprain or recommending the right pair of shoes, podiatrists play a vital role in supporting the foot health and athletic endeavours of netball players. So, before you hit the court for your next game, take the time to care for your feet and invest in the right footwear – your performance and well-being depend on it!

If you would like to have us provide a clinical assessment and treatment you can see us at Leading Edge Podiatry (Formerly Complete Podiatry Blackwood). Feel free to book online or call us on 7120 6063!

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