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Preventing exercise injuries

As we head outdoors to ramp up our fitness routines this spring, many of us will find ourselves sidelined by easy-to-prevent injuries.

To reduce the risk of injury, Anthony Harper, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada, shares these tips:

- Replace your shoes regularly. With each use, the support of your shoes gradually wears down. There are many factors in determining when your shoes are worn out, including shoe condition, tread wear and midsole compression Even if your shoes are sitting in a closet, the soles will deteriorate over time. As a rule of thumb, aim to replace your running shoes after one year or 500 - 1000 kilometres to ensure they continue to support proper foot movements without stress or strain.

- Wear orthotics in athletic shoes, too. Harper says some people who have been prescribed orthotics wear them only in their daily shoes. However, it’s vital to wear orthotics in your athletic shoes as well to ensure your feet are getting the support they need to function correctly.

- Choose shoes designed for your specific activity. Not all sneakers are created equally. Different types of athletic shoes are designed for the way your feet move in specific activities. Examples of athletic shoes are walking shoes, running shoes and sport-specific shoes such as basketball or court shoes. Each type of shoe is designed to give you the necessary support and control for specific activities to help optimize your performance and minimize potential injuries.

- Don’t ignore foot pain. Often, pain in your feet can be easily addressed with changes to your shoes or by starting to wear orthotics to provide additional support. However, sometimes foot pain can signal more serious issues. If you are experiencing prolonged pain or discomfort in your feet, schedule a consultation with a certified pedorthist for a thorough examination and treatment plan.

- Start off slow. While it’s commendable to want to give 110 per cent to your new activity right away, your body and feet need time to adjust to any new fitness regimen. Gradually build up the length and frequency of your activities to allow your body to ease in.

More information can be found at pedorthic.ca.

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