Saturday, March 18, 2006

Kookaburras: Foot sore

Jamie Dwyer is one of the key players in Hockey Australia's team competing in the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The Aussies are favoured to take gold after their stellar performance in Athens. In the lead up to the 18th Commonwealth Games, Dwyer reported problems from his right foot which he attributed to changing playing shoes. Change of footwear and a week’s rest saw a rejuvenated Dwyer in the team ready to face Scotland in the opening knock out heat. Much was expected from Australia’s world-class striker who scored the golden goal in the Athens final against the Netherlands to end the Kookaburras' hard-luck story in Olympic competition. Scotland was gubbed 5 to 1 as Australia romped through. Scotland defended boldly stifling the characteristic Australian attacking style but the Kookaburras were able to create more up front opportunities which they were able to convert into goals. The match opened with a scare for the Australian team when Dwyer left the pitch five minutes in after appearing to hurt his knee. Australia's next match is against Canada on Sunday where Jamie Dwyer will be hoping to play but only if his corked left thigh settles down. Of course there is no evidence to show his previous foot problems contributed to his present situation but it does show how vulnerable elite athletes are. You may not be aware but when you go for a run of 10 miles which is about the equivalent of 15000 stride lengths you are taking three times your body weight and crushing it down on the 56 tiny bones, 66 joints and 214 ligaments that make up your feet. A 150-pound person walking one mile exerts the equivalent of 127,000 pounds on each foot and by the age of 50 years we have walked at least 75,000 miles. While a shoe may look fine on the outside, the mid-sole breaks down long before the shoe shows signs of wear, and experts recommend shoes be replaced after 350 to 500 miles. One other piece of sage advice never compete in a dame or participate in a heat wearing brand new shoes, always try them out in practice and be comfortable with the shoes.

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