Football can place a great deal of stress on the foot, and there can be a lot of friction involved, particularly when playing on surfaces such as astroturf. Similarly, when playing on hard ground, the studs can result in pressure to the sole of the foot. As most players wear a tight fitting boot for better ball control, it’s not uncommon for a footballer to suffer with pressure points, corns, callus or ingrowing toenails. This is particularly damaging for those who are still growing.
You should be careful not to confuse the natural muscular aches from a hard session with pain that reoccurs after every training session or game, or even pain that is gradually getting worse. In these situations, it is best to consult a leg or foot specialist. Also, any signs of pressure such as redness, blisters, hard skin or an extra bone developing should be assessed by a professional. Areas to check regularly are around the back of the heel, the toes and the base of the big toe joint.
Tips for maintaining healthy feet for football:
- Maintain good foot hygiene – this is essential to avoid foot problems such as bacterial, fungal or viral infection.
- Stay flexible – flexibility helps maintain a wide range of motion at all joints and prevent injury.
- Maintain a good sense of balance. Balance can be improved by increasing the communication between the feet and the brain – a process called ‘proprioception’. The use of orthotics can be helpful here, especially for those with flat feet.
- Wear well-fitting boots – a good, well-fitting pair of football boots is essential. There should be no signs of pressure on the foot after a game or training session.
- Wear flip flops or similar if you use communal changing areas and showers, to avoid picking up infections that can cause problems.