If your feet are bothering you it becomes hard to play comfortably, sometimes it gets hard to play at all! Having owned well over 30 pairs of boots I can tell you foot problems can really add up and seeing as I’ve had to deal with breaking in and getting all these boots into match shape I’ve encountered cramping, blistering, calluses, plantar fasciitis and minor cases of turf toe. I’ve turned into quite the foot injury and care aficionado! Luckily, I have a massage background and know how to get my feet back into good shape because of it.
Here are my Six Tips To Keep Your Feet Healthy.
1. Get the right fit!
Believe it or not if you wear cleats that are too small for a long period of time you can change the structure of your feet, and not in a good way. It can lead to issues like hammer toe and can increase the likely hood of getting turf toe which can drastically impact performance and day to day comfort. If it is flush with your big toe and/or squeezing against your little toe it is too tight, go up a half size at least. It is equally important to get the right width as well to avoid cramping and arch discomfort. Though for some foot types insoles will be a must have.
2. Trim your nails, shave down over-sized calluses/bunions
Nothing sucks more than ripping up a toe nail and you guys don’t need me to tell you that. It isn’t unusual to end up on the receiving end of a rough challenge and end up getting your toes stepped on so it is possible to crack a toe nail and the longer they are the easier they are to damage. But another part of making sure your nails are trimmed and your calluses or bunions shaved down is important for getting a proper and comfortable fit. Blood blisters can form under a callus if it gets to be too big. I’ve had this experience myself and it sucks.
3. Care for the muscles in your foreleg
A lot of foot issues can be potentially be caused by tightness in the foreleg. You also want to be able to avoid getting shin splints or a torn Achilles so self care for these muscles are a must. Useful foreleg stretches can be found on YouTube.
4. Foot care techniques
These following foot care techniques will be good for plantar fasciitis, foot discomfort, foot cramping or tightness. However before doing any of them make sure there are no breaks or tears in the muscles of your foot if there is a suspected injury. These techniques should be practiced at least once every other day for any benefit. I usually do them twice a day on a game day.
- Take a pressurized can of spray, it can be shaving cream can or deodorant, step on it and roll it under foot and stop on the sore spots. Make sure to put some pressure on it otherwise you won’t get the benefit. It will hurt at first but the more you do it the less it will hurt. If you are feeling adventurous do it with a pair of golf balls.
- Soak your feet in ice water for 3-5 minutes. Don’t want to do it too long to avoid getting frostbite. This will reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Barefoot exercises will get the muscles in the leg and foot to strengthen. Barefoot shoes can run anywhere form $70 to $100 for a decent pair. I prefer minimalist shoes with a very small heel rise. It is best to start off barefoot running very carefully as to not cause foot injuries so it is best to work your way up.
- Double socking can really add a new degree of comfort and can supply a snug fit to most boots. It also decreases the likelihood of blistering. I’m a devout double socker and I can tell you it makes a world of differences. I also find that it doesn’t really effect ball feel noticeably so it isn’t going to harm your game any.
5. Use the right boot for the surface
This mostly applies to using firm ground boots on turf. Whenever I do without fail I end up with extremely sore feet. My toes cram up against the front of the boot when I decelerate or have to make a stop or cut and I end up having to Ice my toes after. One of the many reasons why I strongly recommend using turf boots when playing on turf.
You should also make sure to check out this article: When is the Right and Wrong Time to Wear FG Boots?
6. Blisters are not entirely bad
Blisters do happen on occasion, but after blistering you are more likely to have a helpful build up of scar tissue or develop a callus. However the only place your really want this to happen is at your heel or around the sides of your ankles, if you get them on any other part of your foot the boots you are wearing may not be right for you. These are areas of high abrasion and can become irritated by the collar of an ill fitting boot. But after that callus forms this won’t be a problem.
But if Blisters aren’t your thing.
A pair of true sox or simply doubling up your socks can drastically reduce the likelihood of blistering. I wear true sox whenever I break in a new pair of boots and the only place I’ve ever blistered while wearing them is at the heel where the socks don’t cover as well. Also I keep a box of blister band aides with me to get that little extra level of protection.