• Stand-Up Paddleboarding: 5 Foot Care Tips

    by Dr. LaMour
    on Oct 29th, 2014

Want a way to improve core strength, coordination, and flexibility while enjoying local lakes, rivers, and oceans? Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) might be for you! But before jumping feet first into it, you should understand the risks of the sport – especially the risks to your feet – and how to avoid them. We contacted Jeff Berres, one of the paddleboarding experts at Austin Paddle Sports, to help us compile some tips for taking care of your feet during and after paddleboarding.

Barefoot Isn’t Always Best

“Most people paddle barefoot,” says Jeff, “which is why the boards have soft deck pads for grip and comfort under foot.” However, if you have certain foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or high arches which can cause significant foot pain after paddleboarding for a while, you might consider stiff-soled footwear that is waterproof or water-resistant footwear. Water shoes or water socks are also recommended when paddling in cooler weather, and in environments where there may be rocks or sharp objects under the surface of the water. 

Achieve the Right Balance

Paddleboarding requires good balance, and your core – from abs to knees – plays a big part in keeping you from tipping over. If your core isn’t very strong, your feet compensate for it. This can lead to foot and ankle cramping, pain, and even tendonitis. To prevent foot stress and aid balance, your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet, and focused on the little-toe side of each foot. A common balancing error is putting too much weight on the front of the foot, instead of on the heel. To help with this, keep your knees bent, your back straight, and your head up and centered over the board while moving. 

Go Ahead and Fall

According to Jeff, paddleboarding injuries aren’t extremely common, since it’s a low impact sport. But he’s seen beginning paddleboarders get injured from resisting a fall into the water – including one newbie who ended up with a sprained ankle. Such injuries can easily be avoided if you take Jeff’s simple advice, “Just relax, don’t resist, and enjoy the splash.”

Practice Your Dismounts

Another ripe opportunity for injury comes when getting on and off the board. Jeff suggests to go to your knees when climbing on or off. “That way you keep your center of gravity low and avoid falling.” This method also keeps you from stepping into deeper or shallower water than you expected, which could easily leave you with a hurt ankle or banged-up toes.

Stretch It Out

Some people – especially those new to the sport – experience foot soreness or numbness during or after paddleboarding. Performing some basic foot stretches while on the board, and once you’re back on dry land can help alleviate any discomfort. Many find that the longer they stick with paddleboarding, the less pain they experience.

Ready to give paddleboarding a try? Contact the team at Austin Paddle Sports to get ready for your next excursion. If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain after paddleboarding, or if you’ve suffered a paddleboarding foot injury, schedule an appointment with us today!

Original Source: http://www.drjefflamour.com/sports-injuries/stand-paddleboarding-5-foot-care-tips/

Author Dr. LaMour

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