Tackling Foot Woes: How Podiatrists Assist Australian Rules Football Players


Australian Rules Football (AFL) is a thrilling sport that demands physical prowess and agility from its players. With its fast-paced nature and intense physical contact, injuries are an inevitable part of the game. Among the various injuries that AFL players face, foot-related issues can be particularly debilitating. In this article, we’ll explore some typical foot injuries in AFL and delve into how podiatrists play a crucial role in preventing and treating these injuries, keeping players on their feet and in the game.

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1. Sprained Ankles:

Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries in AFL. The abrupt changes in direction, rapid accelerations, and sudden stops inherent in the sport make players susceptible to rolling or twisting their ankles. Podiatrists can help by assessing the foot and ankle biomechanics, prescribing appropriate footwear or orthotics to provide stability and support, and recommending strengthening exercises to prevent future sprains.

2. Plantar Fasciitis:

Plantar fasciitis, characterized by pain and inflammation in the heel or arch of the foot, is another prevalent injury among AFL players. The repetitive running and jumping involved in the game can strain the plantar fascia, leading to micro-tears and discomfort. Podiatrists can employ various treatment modalities such as orthotic devices, stretching exercises, and footwear modifications to alleviate symptoms and facilitate healing. They may also advise on proper warm-up techniques and training regimens to reduce the risk of recurrence.

3. Stress Fractures:

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Stress fractures occur when repetitive impact and stress overload the bones, resulting in tiny cracks. AFL players, especially those engaged in frequent running and jumping activities, are prone to developing stress fractures in the feet and lower limbs. Podiatrists play a crucial role in diagnosing stress fractures through imaging studies and clinical assessments. They can then implement treatment strategies such as immobilization, activity modification, and biomechanical interventions to promote optimal healing and prevent further injury.

4. Turf Toe:

Turf toe is a hyperextension injury of the big toe joint commonly seen in sports with artificial turf surfaces like AFL. Players may experience pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected toe, impairing their performance on the field. Podiatrists can offer conservative treatments such as taping, padding, and custom orthotics to relieve pressure on the joint and facilitate healing. They may also provide education on footwear selection and playing surface considerations to minimize the risk of recurrence.

5. Achilles Tendonitis:

The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, undergoes significant stress during sprinting, jumping, and sudden accelerations in AFL. Overuse or improper training techniques can lead to inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon, resulting in Achilles tendonitis. Podiatrists can employ a multifaceted approach to manage Achilles tendonitis, including rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises, footwear modifications, and biomechanical assessments to address contributing factors such as overpronation or poor foot mechanics.


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Injuries are an inevitable part of AFL, but with proper preventive measures and timely intervention, players can minimize their impact and return to the field stronger than ever. Podiatrists play a vital role in the comprehensive care of AFL players, offering expertise in foot and ankle biomechanics, injury prevention strategies, and rehabilitation protocols. By working closely with podiatrists, AFL players can ensure the optimal foot health, enabling them to perform at their peak and enjoy a long and successful career in the sport.

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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