Football season is upon us, and so are sports injuries. Sprains, strains and broken bones seem to happen more often this season among athletes. The doctors at the Foot & Ankle Centers want to share some tips that may protect you from serious foot and ankle problems. A medical check-up helps if an athlete can benefit from wearing a supportive brace or orthotic during competition, especially if there is an old sprain or injury. Proper footwear makes all the difference, so be sure to wear the right shoe for the sport you're competing in. Invest in new shoes, especially in children. Like the tread on a car tire, shoe bottoms become uneven and can cause even the strongest ankle to go in a painful direction. Give your ankles the best shot with proper support. Warm up before you play. Stretches and light jogging help reduce the risk for ankle injuries by warming up your blood vessels and ligaments. But some injuries are unpreventable, and immediate treatment is always beneficial. Be careful not to write everything off as a sprain or strain; bone injuries do occur and are treatable. Remember that the sooner treatment starts, the sooner continuing problems can be prevented. Our doctors and surgeons always PUT YOUR FEET FIRST at our three locations: Yorkville (630-553-9300), Morris (815-942-9050) and Sandwich (815-786-9451), so give us a call for a check-up.