SINGAPORE - About 30 per cent more people have sought treatment from him for sports-related ankle injuries over the last two years.
For sports-related knee injuries, it is about 15 to 20 per cent more, said consultant orthopaedic sports surgeon Tan Jee Lim, who runs the JL Sports Medicine and Surgery clinic at Gleneagles Medical Centre.
Mr Tye Lee Tze of The Podiatry Centre, who has been practising in Singapore for 19 years, has also seen more patients with similar foot problems in the last few years, although he does not keep track of the numbers.
Both Dr Tan and Mr Tye attribute this trend to more people taking up running or extreme sports.
These injuries can be caused by wearing the wrong footwear for the wrong surface, or for the wrong sport.
For instance, some footballers wear the wrong type of boots for the pitch they are playing on.
Said Dr Tan: "There is an increase in astro-turf (artificial grass) usage for football pitches here, and these surfaces have very different characteristics from the normal grass surfaces."
He said: "Astro-turf grips much better than the traditional natural grass, and players wearing the standard football boots for grass pitches and play on astro-turf run a higher risk of knee ligament injuries because of excessive stress focused at the knee."
These players should switch to "rubber-studded boots which are specially designed for astro-turf", like how hockey players have all switched from traditional football boots to rubber-studded ones, DrTan said.
Foot injuries can also result from wearing the wrong footwear for the wrongsport.
This includes wearing cross-trainers for running. These shoes do not have adequate cushioning and flexibility for running, said Changi Sports Medicine Centre's consultant, Dr Roger Tian.
Dr Tan agreed and said that another common mistake is to wear running shoes to play court games like tennis or badminton.
"Jogging shoes tend to have higher hind soles for cushioning effect, which raises the centre of gravity of the ankle, which is (not) for court games, where you need to change direction quickly.
"This leads to ankle injuries, ranging from sprains to fractures," he said. Changi Sports Medicine Centre will be holding a public forum on preventing and managing foot and ankle injuries on Oct 13. Call 6850-2987 for details.
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