In recent times there has been a growing trend of clients attending my office with injuries relating to sports shoes. It is important to understand that everybody is different and runs and moves in their own certain way and there is not one perfect shoe for every foot. While injuries are caused by a combination of problems, wearing the right footwear as part of your treatment plan is one of the best things you can do to help manage and prevent injuries to the feet and lower limbs.
Here are five tips for finding the right sports footwear:
1. Wear sports specific shoes
Planning on starting running? Wear running shoes. Playing tennis or netball – wear tennis or netball shoes. All of these shoes are made with an upper and sole that help you move specifically with the movement of that sport. For example, running shoes are made with straight line movement in the sole, whereas tennis and netball shoes are made with extra grip for side to side movement to prevent you rolling your ankles. A good alternative for social athletes are cross trainers which are made with both types of movement in mind.
2. Streetwear and fashion shoes
While many people own a pair of street styled shoes that are great to get out and about in, they’re not suited to a run or the gym. Sports shoes have increased stability in the midsole whereas casual streetwear are often very flexible and flat. When running your body has six times your bodyweight going through the joints therefore your shoes should be selected to help combat these forces to help reduce the risk of injury.
3. Check the size of your shoes
Something so simple like checking the size of your shoes is always taken for granted. I have often found that patients always go for the same size shoe no matter what brand or style they are buying. If you were to pick ten size 8 shoes from different brands they would all be different lengths and widths from each other. The best way to check the size of your sports shoes is to remove the inner sole from the shoe and stand on it. The right shoe size should have approximately 1 – 1.5cms from the end of the toes to the end of the inner sole and all of your smaller toes are sitting comfortably on the sole – not hanging over the edges. Anything too short or too narrow won’t give your foot enough room to move inside of the shoe causing a number of problems including blisters, corns and ingrown toe nails.
4. Change them regularly
The number of people who have had the same runners for a number of years and still expect them to perform the same way is continuing. Your shoes should be changed every 400-500 kms or at least every twelve months if used more than 3 times a week. Check the soles of the shoes are not wearing out excessively at the heels or the toes and that the upper is in good condition without stretches or tears. Wearing shoes that are old and worn out will mean that your body is doing more work to make up the lack of strength in the shoe leading to a greater risk of injury.
5. Don’t forget about your socks!
There have been great advances in the way we cover our feet and toes. New technologies in performance socks have begun to offer breathable, light, arch supporting socks that along with a snug fit offer synthetic material to wick sweat and prevent blisters from forming. These light socks are perfect to keep the feeling you need with your shoe to improve the feeling between you and your running surface. If light and thin don’t offer the feeling you are after, there are socks that offer a thick cushion to absorb shock at the heel and ball of your foot. This is all based upon preference and how you would like your shoes to fit. Those just starting to run may prefer to stick with a thicker cushioning to reduce foot fatigue.
Wearing the right type of shoe and looking out for the size and condition of your sports shoes is an important way to prevent and manage injuries to the feet and lower limbs. Visit our website for more information on services we offer or book an appointment for a one on one consultation to help you with your injuries and get you back on track.
by Joseph Sassine – Podiatrist at Walk This Way Podiatry