Athletes Kick Off the Outdoor Sports Tournament with Free Foot Screenings

July 2, 2014

Dozens of medical professionals will volunteer to give athletes free podiatry screenings at Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® at the State Outdoor Sports Tournament in Waukesha on Saturday, August 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fit Feet screenings examine the athlete’s foot, their walking pattern and check their shoe size.

“We look to see if athletes have any sores, infections, ingrown toenails, warts, fungal toenails, athlete’s foot, etc.,” said Dr. Birute Balciunas, SOWI Fit Feet Clinical Director. “We also look to see what kind of socks they have and if they have shoes that fit properly.” 

According to Dr. Balciunas, Fit Feet is an important discipline for athletes because lower extremity health is crucial to live an active lifestyle.

“In order to maintain vital lifestyles and enjoy sports without pain, proper foot health is necessary,” she said. “Many athletes have flatfeet or shoes that are the wrong size so they need better arch support and proper footwear.”

According to Melissa Schoenbrodt, Special Olympics Wisconsin Director of Wellness Initiatives, Fit Feet is just one Healthy Athletes® discipline that improves athlete wellness. For the Outdoor Sports Tournament, athletes will also receive oral health screenings as part of Special Smiles® and learn about sun safety, bone health and hydration as part of Healthy Promotions. 

“These disciples are important because they educate athletes, coaches and family members on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the screenings may identify health needs that have gone unnoticed,” she said. “It is also a great opportunity for healthcare professionals and students in health related studies to receive hands-on learning experience working with individuals with an intellectual disability.” 

Thanks to professionals like Dr. Balciunas, Dr. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and Dr. Comfort’s athletic shoe donations, Fit Feet is able to make a difference in SOWI athletes’ lives. 

Any registered SOWI athlete is welcome to take advantage of this program, even if they are not competing at the State Outdoor Sports Tournament. Click here for details. 


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