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The foot and the footstep in padel

por Aitor Castrillo

Choosing our racket and shoes correctly or having a correct physical preparation are important aspects when it comes to preventing injuries in padel, which most of us know, but do you know the importance of our feet and our footstep in padel?

In this post, Apex Biomechanics podiatrist Aitor Castrillo explains its importance and influence on padel.

What are the functions of the foot?

The feet are the support of our body, our link between it and the floor.

They have a complex structure 28 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 57 ligaments in each foot – having a great ability to perform various functions and tasks that will influence in one way or another the functioning of the rest of our body’s structures.

Among these functions of the foot are:

  • Energy absorption and release.

The foot is the first to absorb the impact of each step. It is capable of accumulating this energy and releasing it during our stride, helping us to save energy and playing a fundamental role in the performance of any sport.

If this function is altered, the knee, hip or back will take over this task, producing changes in the functioning of these joints and in muscular behaviour, which can lead to injuries.

  • Distribution of forces from the floor to the rest of the body.

If the behaviour of the structures of our feet is altered, the forces coming from the floor will be transferred upwards in an incorrect way, generating modifications and adaptations that cause changes in the functioning of some articular and muscular structures, generating imbalances and the probability of injuries.

In this way, the functioning of the foot is key to the correct biomechanics of the rest of our body and a change or alteration in its function can be the origin of numerous injuries:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Ankle sprains
  • Patellar Tendinopathy
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Pyramidal or false sciatica syndrome
  • Anterior cruciate ligament injury

What is the influence of the footstep on padel?

Padel is characterised by the great diversity of movements and actions that take place on the court, including accelerations, braking, changes of direction, jumps, landings, lateral and horizontal movements… This great variety makes it a highly biomechanically demanding sport and, therefore, highly injurious.

Incorrect foot function triggers a series of compensations at a higher level, which together with a number of other factors can lead to injury and decreased performance, as structures are more easily fatigued.

Some studies place the foot and ankle as the second most injured area of the body in padel, suggesting that it is an area of high stress and importance within the game.

How can I identify if my footstep is correct?

It is advisable to identify whether our feet are performing their functions correctly by carrying out a biomechanical study of the footstep in a specialised centre.

A correct biomechanical study of the footstep not only assesses the foot, but also seeks to analyse its functioning in conjunction with that of the rest of the structures of our body.

How can the footstep be modified?

Once those factors or patterns that may be altered have been identified, different alternatives are considered on a case-by-case basis, including the following:

  • Tailor-made insoles
  • Specific physical preparation work
  • Physiotherapy
  • Footwear

“The foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Aitor Castrillo

CEO and podiatrist Apex Biomechanics
Instagram account: @aitor.apex // @apex.biomechanics

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