Choosing the Right Shoes Can Prevent Sports Injuries: Know What to Look for

Progressive Podiatry, sports injuries, sneakers, soles

Can choosing the right sports shoe help prevent foot and ankle injuries? Absolutely! The question is how to know which shoe is the right one. Since your feet and gait are unique to you, the right answer isn’t always obvious. There are, however, some general observations that can help you make an informed purchase.

If you feel your feet fall outside the normal parameters, by all means contact Progressive Podiatry for help choosing the best footwear for any sport in which you may participate.

Study your old shoes

You can learn plenty about your feet by looking at the soles of older, worn shoes. For instance, if you have high arches, you’ll likely see wear on the outside edges of your shoes as well as around the baby toe, since your feet tend to roll outward. The right shoe for you will likely be well-cushioned with no additional arch support to allow your foot roll to a more neutral position.

Those with low arches see wear on the outside heel and inside toe area, since their feet tend to roll inward, sometimes resulting in a knock-kneed posture. Strong arch supports can rotate your foot to relieve this extra strain on your knees, and shoes with motion-control features can further stabilize your foot. If you see even wear across your old shoes, you can look for a balance of stability, support, and conditioning in your athletic footwear.

Match shoes to the sport

If you’re both a hiker and a runner, don’t be tempted to use the same shoes for each activity. For walking and hiking, you need a stiffer shoe to help support your feet through less extreme motion than running. For higher speed sports, you need a shoe with greater flexibility so that the natural motions of your foot aren’t facing resistance from a stiff shoe.

Tennis and basketball players similarly need flexibility, but they also need protection against the extreme lateral motions these sports demand. Football, soccer, baseball, and golf each demand increased traction on turf surfaces, so these feature cleats, often with both wet and dry-weather versions.

Watch the fit

Once you’ve determined the features and flexibility you need, you’ve narrowed your choices in appropriate shoes for your sport. Give yourself lots of time to shop for footwear. Patience is key, since you need to try on at least several pairs.

The right shoe feels good out of the box. The concept of breaking in shoes is a myth. When you find a potential fit, be sure to put both shoes on and walk around to test for loose or tight spots. Your toes should have a little wiggle room, but your heel should not.

Monitor shoe wear

Keep an eye on the soles of your new footwear too, since once wear begins, the protection and stability you fought to gain is compromised and it’s time for a new pair. If your shoe wear is even across the sole, then you’ve likely got the right gear for your chosen sport. If not, consult this list and adjust your choice. Don’t fall for the myth that old equipment makes you look more experienced. Worn shoes are a sports injury waiting to happen.

The footcare professionals at Progressive Podiatry are always ready to help you with foot-related issues or injuries. You can call or click to make an appointment at any of our locations. Contact us today.

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