Sports and other physical activities can be beneficial in helping with your overall physical fitness and sense of wellbeing, but a foot or ankle injury can quickly put a damper on that. One of your main tools in keeping your feet and ankles safe while performing physical activities is shoes that are activity appropriate and fit well. Let’s take a look at how you can go about finding the right shoes for sports and why it is important.
Sports and Your Feet
Most sports entail running and/or jumping, so it is easy to understand that feet and ankles are essential body parts for being active. Of course, that also means that they are at risk for injury whenever you step on the court, field, or track. There are several common sports injuries we see, including:
- Stress Fractures – Different than fractures that happen from a single, traumatic incident, stress fractures are tiny cracks in the surface of bone tissue that develop over time.
- Achilles Tendon Injuries – If you only suit up for athletic participation on the weekends, but are inactive the rest of the week, you are at risk for Achilles tendinitis or ruptures.
- Ankle Sprains – In addition to being an injury risk on the court or field, ankle sprains can also happen if you misjudge a step or curb or stumble in high heels. The condition happens when the foot twists beyond its intended range, thus causing tears in the supporting connective tissues.
The First Line of Defense
Using the right shoes for sports can be thought of as your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your feet and preventing common sports injuries. Wearing the wrong style, though, will not only fail to protect your lower limbs but also increase the risk of injury. With this in mind, it is important to know what to look for when it comes to athletic footwear. This includes paying attention to such matters as:
- Sport appropriate – Make sure you have the right shoes for the activity you will be performing. It is certainly possible to wear running shoes while playing basketball, but the lack of ankle support will not reduce the risk of ankle sprains the same way an actual pair of basketball shoes would.
- Shoe features – The right shoes for your sport will need to have appropriate levels of cushioning and provide sufficient arch support. These features help to reduce the forces your body tissues absorb that could lead to injuries and medical issues.
- Proper fit – Even if you have proper shoes for your sport that have all the right features, a pair that does not fit properly will put you at greater risk for injury. Make sure that your footwear is neither too small nor too large. Shoes that are too tight can lead to issues like ingrown toenails, black nails, and calluses or corns. Footwear that is too big can allow the foot to slide around inside and cause calluses or blisters or simply not provide the support the ankle needs during intense activity.
Because running can lead to a host of issues, picking out running shoes certainly warrants its own section. In part, this is because of the role that foot arches play in the biomechanical processes and the developments shoe manufacturers have made to accommodate the styles.
If you are a runner, or want to take up the practice, you need to know if you have high, moderate, or low arches so you can find a pair of running shoes that is engineered for your foot type. Low arches generally lead to overpronation, so individuals with flatfeet benefit from motion control shoes. Those who have high arches benefit from running footwear that do not have stability devices or medial posts.
Sports Injury Treatment in Nassau County, NY
Shoes are an essential part of preventing sports injuries, but it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate the risk of injury during physical activity. For more information on the right shoes for sports or treatment for any sports foot or ankle injury, contact our Long Island, NY podiatrist office by calling (516) 804-9038.