Staying active keeps us healthy, and with the warm summer weather comes a host of different sports. However, sports can cause strain on your feet, ankles, and legs if you aren’t wearing the right footwear. Before you lace up your sneakers to run a marathon or cycle through the park, there are some ways to make sure your shoes are not going to cause you problems.
The first thing you will want to check is whether or not your current shoes need replacement. As your body ages, your feet change, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your feet. Consider changing your shoe styles every four to five years as your feet adjust. Make sure that your shoes remain in good condition. For example, runners should consider changing their shoes every six months, depending on their mileage. If you do not know whether or not it’s time to change your old pair of shoes for a new one, check the midsoles (the layer of material between the inner and outer soles of the shoe used to absorb shock). Cracked midsoles are a sign it may be time to turn in your shoes for a new pair. Your toes rubbing against the front of your shoe and your ankles giving out are also signs you may need replacements.
Once you have determined whether or not you should replace your current footwear, you’ll need to decide what type of shoe works best for you. There are typically two types of athletic footwear. Stability shoes – those with flat feet or overpronation (when your foot rolls inward as you move). Neutral shoes – those with higher arches and underpronation (when your foot doesn’t roll inwards very far as you move). You can discuss your foot pronation with your doctor if you aren’t sure.
Next, you will need to try on your shoes. Make sure you remember to bring the socks you plan to wear with your athletic shoes. If you wear thick socks for hiking or another sport, it may affect the shoe’s fit. Bring in any arch supports or inserts as well.
“Make sure you are going in at the end of the day after you’ve been on your feet for a while,” said Benjamin R. Proto, DPM, FACFAS of TPMG Orthopedics. While you are trying on new shoes, duplicate the action you are planning to complete. If you’re a runner, check to see if the store has a treadmill. If you’re planning on hiking, stomp your feet on the ground and walk a circle in the store.
Last, make sure you save your athletic shoes for that specific activity.
“If you have running shoes, those running shoes shouldn’t be your everyday shoes,” said Dr. Proto. Don’t use your hiking boots for yard work. Save your athletic shoes for the sport for which they were designed to preserve them and protect your feet.
Athletic shoes can play a large role in your sports performance. If you are encountering problems with your footwear or think you may need a replacement, work with a foot and ankle specialist to find the right shoe for you.
About Dr. Benjamin R. Proto, DPM, FACFAS
Benjamin R. Proto, DPM, FACFAS, joined TPMG Orthopedics in 2007, and has established himself as one of the Peninsula’s leading foot and ankle specialists, offering his patients the latest advancements in foot and ankle care. In his surgical practice, Dr. Proto utilizes minimally invasive techniques and specializes in partial and total joint replacement of the foot and ankle, ankle arthroscopy, and ankle fusion to address painful and dysfunctional joints.