Wearing unsuitable footwear, the humid environments of the changing rooms, excessive sweating and a lack of hygiene or precautions, among other factors, encourage the development of certain frequent skin disorders on the sportsperson's feet.
There are many skin complaints that a sportsperson's feet may suffer from:
- Blisters: lumps that appear on the skin in the form of small bags filled with liquid from the footwear rubbing on the skin, the use of acrylic socks and/or a lack of hydration. A warm and humid microenvironment also causes them to form.
- Calluses or helomas: round, inward growing hyperkeratotic lesions covered with hard skin. They appear when an area of skin receives excessive pressure from the bone and footwear. They are dark in colour with well defined edges.
- Mycosis: an infectious disease caused by fungi. Tinea pedis (athlete's foot) is the most common. It usually affects the gaps between the toes and causes itching.
- Warts: small and benign lesions. These are caused by infections from the human papilloma virus (HPV). The spread of this virus is due to skin-to-skin contact or contaminated objects.
- Contact dermatitis: A skin reaction to an irritating substance or friction. This can be frequent during exercise and are typically located in areas of contact, friction or pressure. They are especially caused by the rubber in shoes or leather colourings, as well as by socks or stockings, plasters, etc.
Sportsperson's nail injuries and conditions
The pressure of the footwear and stopping suddenly on rough ground, as well as other factors, may cause certain injuries to the sportsperson's toenails. Examples of these are subungual haematomae, ingrown toenails or onychocryptosis or onychomycosis.
Subungual haematoma is usually located on the first toe and is very common among tennis and paddle tennis players. It appears due to pressure and presents as a frequently painful black spot located on the nail plate. The nail can even fall off.
Ingrown toenail or onychocryptosis is a condition that appears when an edge of the toenail penetrates the skin of the toe causing pain, redness and inflammation, since the skin acts as if it were a foreign body.
Finally, onychomycosis are fungal nail infections. Humid environments, heat or repeated trauma are contributing factors. The most frequent ones are caused by dermatophytes and they usually affect the nail of the big toe.
Preventing injuries to the sportsperson's foot
Caring for the sportsperson's feet by applying specific moisturising and protective products before and after sports is essential for preventing the appearance of skin lesions and protecting them from the impacts and friction caused by exercise.
Considering how the foot is placed when doing sports or choosing the right shoes are measures to take into account to avoid injuries in sports. Studying the biomechanics of movements during sport contributes to improving performance and preventing injuries.
When choosing sports shoes, several important factors must be considered, such as weight, the surface on which we will play or if our foot has a pronounced pronation (the foot rotates inwards) or supination (the foot rotates outwards).