According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, previous research showed that as friction increases so do the rate of injuries to legs, ankles, and feet. Meaning, the more traction the court or field offers, the greater the risk of injury. Because artificial turf is believed to have more traction than natural grass we expect more injuries on turf. And there are plenty of studies to back this up. In fact, a 2013 study by the Journal of Sports Medicine found that artificial turf is three times more likely to cause foot and ankle injuries. Knowing this, it’s important for athletes to consider precautions for decreasing their traction — like cleats designed specifically for turf.

However, a five-year study by the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University believes turf is, in fact, the safer bet.

Attributing serious sports injuries to artificial turf is a thing of the past, says Dr. Michael C. Myers of Montana State University. His study showed that new types of turf, like FieldTurf, are more akin to natural grass. He compared college football injuries between actual grass and this new turf and found FieldTurf to be safer.

The difference is newer generations of artificial turf which have been painstakingly created to mirror the consistency and traction of actual grass. This is the type that is used by the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and many international football pitches. But it’s not always what you’ll find at the Little League field or even a D1 football program at a major University.

Whether you’re playing on artificial turf, natural grass, or turf that feels almost identical to grass, there are a few precautions you can take to keep your feet and ankles safe:

  • 1. Choose your shoes based on quality and how they’ll interact with your preferred playing surface.
  • 2. If your athletics department offers an injury reduction program, consider enrolling.
  • 3. Practice “quick feet” drills to increase agility and precision. These drills train athletes to have more control of their feet and ankles when out on the field.
  • 4. Always warm up and cool down.
  • 5. Have foot check-ups! Visit a foot and ankle specialist for customized injury prevention before you hit the turf and for post-season follow-ups.

Sports injuries might be difficult to predict but staying proactive about performance criteria you can control will help you stay active for years to come.

Are You Suffering From A Sports Injury In The Caldwell Or Meridian, Idaho Area?

If you're suffering with a sports injury you owe it to yourself to speak with our experienced podiatrists as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!

Dr. P. Roman Burk
Providing experienced private practice podiatry services in the Caldwell and Meridian, ID area since 2007.