The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. Through free health screenings, training of healthcare professionals, and evaluation of the health status of people with intellectual disabilities, Healthy Athletes has become a powerful public health organization worldwide.
Fit Feet helps Special Olympics athletes step lively on the playing field, and in everyday life. Many athletes suffer from foot and ankle pain, or deformities that impair their performance. In fact, up to 50 percent of Special Olympics athletes experience one or more preventable or treatable foot conditions that can affect their sports participation. Often, these individuals are not fitted with the best shoes and socks for their particular sport. To alleviate these problems, volunteer podiatrists work with athletes to evaluate problems of the feet, ankles and lower extremity biomechanics.
Fit Feet was developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) and the Federation of International Podiatrists (FIP).
Athletes are evaluated through a series of stations that include: gait evaluation, foot exams and foot sizing for proper shoe fit.
IMPORTANCE AND IMPACTAt Fit Feet screenings, we learned that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes in the United States have the following health related concerns:50% have gait abnormalities53% have skin and nail conditions21% have bone deformation41% of Special Olympics athletes in the U.S. are wearing the wrong size shoe
PURPOSE AND GOALS• Increase access to foot care for Special Olympics athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities• Raise podiatrists’ awareness of foot concerns of people with special needs including difficulties involved in accessing treatment• Provide a list of regional podiatrists who care for people with special needs to all athletes who participate inthe Special Olympics Fit Feet program• Develop a body of knowledge about proper foot care of children and adults with special needs• Offer free podiatric screenings to evaluate ankles, feet, lower extremity biomechanics, and proper shoes for Special Olympics athletes
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED WITH THE FOLLOWING QUALIFICATIONS• Certificate and current licensure as a Podiatrist, Orthotist, Nurse, Sports Medicine, GP, or other Licensed Health Care Professional.