Wrestlers Recovering from their Season Pin Down Foot and Ankle Ailments!

This past week Logan Steiber of the Ohio State Wrestling team was awarded the Intermat Freshman of the year award. The exciting wrestling season may have recently come to a close in Ohio high schools and at Ohio State, but for serious wrestlers, offseason training will be starting shortly. While athletes are supposed to be the epitome of good health, wrestlers can face a variety of foot and other health problems both on and off the mat.

Wrestlers frequently will often force themselves to extremes to reach their weight class for wrestling. Those reaching for heavy weight status may, to the detriment of their own health, indulge in unhealthy eating habits. While the extra weight may provide an advantage in the short term of trying to hold down an opponent, the resulting diabetes later in life may end up knocking the wrestler’s feet out from under them. These facts were a sad reality this past week for the World Wrestling Entertainment’s retired wrestling legend Kamala when he underwent his third amputation in recent months from complications of diabetes and high blood pressure. Podiatrists work with their diabetic patients to avoid amputations at all costs, performing them only when it is necessary to save the patient’s life from an infection of the foot travelling further up the leg to the body causing gangrene, or tissue death and septicemia. By maintaining a low blood sugar, wrestlers with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes can avoid many of the complications seen in the foot that Kamala likely suffered from including neuropathy, and slow wound healing.

At the other extreme, wrestlers trying to remain a lightweight frequently take up running in the offseason. Wrestlers who enter into an intense running regimen too quickly after months spent just wrestling can experience common running ailments including shin splints, heel pain, and the development of painful corns and calluses. By starting off slowly with low mileage, purchasing proper shoe gear and stretching these injuries may be avoidable. Orthotics may also be helpful in avoiding painful conditions if the individual has underlying biomechanical and structural problems with their feet.

When they are in season, a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that collegiate wrestlers have an injury rate second only to spring football. The ankle is one of the most commonly and most seriously injured parts of the body in wrestling. During takedowns and sparring, ankle sprains and muscle strains can occur when the foot is planted on the ground and forced to twist in an unnatural way. Wrestling is also notorious for the occurrence of athlete’s foot or “ring worm”. This skin condition is not actually due to having worms in the skin, but is caused by infection with a fungus. When it occurs in the foot this is also known as tinea pedis and can spread to cause fungal toenails if not treated.

Wrestlers should make good use of the beginning of their offseason to visit their podiatrist and make a complete recovery from any lingering foot and ankle injuries or skin infections. With good health, they will be quick on their feet when the time comes for their next big match!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia