Posts for category: Shoe Selection
No matter what sport you play, the type of shoe you wear while playing your favorite game is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Choosing the most appropriate, supportive athletic shoes for your specific sport and foot structure can make a huge difference in keeping your feet healthy and comfortable while improving your performance. Serious back, knee, hip and heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, fractures and painful blisters are some of the common conditions faced by athletes wearing the wrong footwear.
From soccer and tennis to golf and basketball, the structure of your foot and any abnormalities should be considered when selecting a proper shoe for your activity. Look for a shoe that combines flexibility, support and cushioning to absorb impact and lessen shock on the feet. Before selecting an athletic shoe, it is always recommended to consult your podiatrist for a professional evaluation of your foot type, any underlying deformities and helpful shoe buying tips.
Types of Shoes
There are unique variations in the way different athletic shoes support your feet. This means that it’s not good to play football in the same shoes you use for jogging. Your feet require different support for different activities, and not all shoes are equal to every task.
A good sports shoe should be fitted to support the foot in the position that is most natural to the movement required. For instance, a running shoe is designed to accommodate high-impact activity, while a shoe built for tennis or basketball should provide a combination of flexibility and sideways support.
Out with the Old
Like most pieces of equipment you use on the field, your athletic shoes will wear out after a period of time, and an old, worn out shoe is a common cause of sport-related injuries. If you run, track your mileage to determine when your shoes have endured too much activity. When you notice obvious wearing of the soles or you sense a lack of cushioning from the shoes, it may be time to buy a new pair.
Remember, the best pair of athletic footwear doesn’t have to be expensive to support the needs of your feet and body during a workout. There are numerous shoes available that will fit both your needs and your budget. When your feet are protected by the right footwear, you can reduce your likelihood of injury. Visit our office for an evaluation and shoe recommendations.
Happy New Year Friends of Podiatry Associates!
Ringing in the new year often brings on fresh starts in the form of a new year's resolution, such as cleaning out the closet, a trip to Goodwill, and its a great time to begin a new exercise program. Many people falsely tell themselves this will be the year, only to fall short of their goals. While the failure is usually multifaceted, there are decisions you can make to help meet your particular goals. It is common to see a large influx of new members at your health club and exercise equipment sales are brisk. Fast foward a few weeks or even a few months and many of those same people have abandoned their well intentioned plan at better health and fitness.
One of the most common causes is poor planning. It is really important to set realistic goals and work up to your full potential. Beginning at a pace which may seem slow and ineffective at first, can often prevent injuries and allow you to assess your fitness level at a safe stage. It is also more likely to make you enjoy the workout and ultimately reap a greater benefit. It is essential to select a plan of exercise which you enjoy. If you try to force yourself into running, yet you hate running, you will likely not 'stick with the plan'. Studies have shown that having an exercise partner is also an effective way of keeping yourself motivated.
Your feet and lower extremity factor into this planning as well. Your feet and legs are involved in essentially every activity you will chose to do. Even upper body strength training causes you to use your legs and feet to stabilize your upper body.
1. Select an activity.
Arguably the most important part. Consider several factors including the amount of time you have, whether you would like to exercise alone or work better with a group. Also your fitness and wellness level, which really are two different things. Arthritis for example, depending on the severity and which joints are involved can markedly affect in which activities you may be able to participate.
Swimming and water aerobics are great for people with arthritis or limited mobility. Cycling, whether it be in a spinning class or on the street or trail can be a fantastic cardiovascular workout and reduces the stress across most joints. High impact activities such as running can be highly rewarding and a very efficient use of you allotted exercise time, but may not be suited to all individuals. Strength training and core exercises as part of a cross training program can supplement whichever type of exercise you chose as your core.
If you are diabetic, blisters and injuries can be more debilitating than for others. A water shoe should be worn while in a water aerobics class and your instructor can make recommendations for you. A well fit cycling shoe is also a good bet. Typically cycling or spinning shoes are more form fitted and rigid than other athletic shoes and you should be fit by a professional. Next, be sure to check your feet for injuries such as abrasions, or hot spots and address those areas immediately. This may be an indication you need to select a different shoe or sock.
2. Proper shoe selection.
This is probably one of the most important parts of the plan. Generally speaking a well fitted running shoe will work for most dry activities, even if you are not actually running. A good running shoe should have a fairly stiff heel counter ( its the part at the back of the shoe which rests against the back of your heel). Give it a good squeeze, which it should be resistant to. Having a stiff heel counter provides greater control of the rearfoot and subtalar joint. This joint provides a great deal shock absorption during heel strike. Next, the shank of the shoe should also be fairly rigid to transition this same control forward into the midfoot. Having a dense shock absorbing EVA sole is also helpful in absorbing additional pressures, especially if you are exercising on hard surfaces such as concrete, black top etc. Running shoes are also more likely to have less leather and an upper made of more breathable material and can even be water-proofed.
3. Proper sock selection.
Socks are an important component, yet are often overlooked. Typical white cotton socks may seem like a great choice, but cotton lacks the wicking capabilities of materials such as wool, acrylic or bamboo. These materials will pull moisture away from you skin, keeping you more comfortable and reducing friction and blisters.
If you have questions regarding the fit of any shoe, be sure to ask your friendly neighborhood specialist at the Foot & Ankle Institute. We are well versed in almost all exercise specific shoes and can recommend various types and possible modifications depending on your specific needs and foot type. Sometimes a shoe insert or orthotic may be needed to help you reach your goals. Next a gait evaluation can be performed in the office and and help determine which exercises and shoe types are best suited to you and your particular gait (the way you walk). We want you to reach your goals and if we can help please do not hesitate to call or email with questions or about setting up an apppointment prior to beginning your program. We would much rather help you reduce your risk factors, than treat you for a stress fracture or other types of over use injuries common to the foot & ankle.
So get the new year off to a great start and good luck!
Finding the perfect running shoe can be a difficult task. A good running shoe can maximize your performance but a bad one could plague you with injuries. There are many factors that go into purchasing the perfect shoe.
There are generally 7 categories of shoe construction and knowing a little about these categories will help you make a better choice. Neutral shoes have a good blend of flexibility and stability. Flexibility shoes offer more shock-absorption. Stability shoes offer high stability and cushioning. Motion-control shoes provide rigidity and stability. Trail running shoes offer increased toe protection, outsole traction, stability and durability. Cushioned shoes are those with little support but more shock absorption. Lightweight shoes come in varying degrees of stability and cushioning.
Arch type is very important in choosing the correct shoe. Do you have a high-arched foot, one that supinates? If your feet do not roll enough, the legs absorb extra shock. Runners should seek added cushioning but not extra support. Flat-footed runners often overpronate; their feet roll inward more than the ideal amount, increasing the risk of injury. Added cushioning and support can help. The normal arched runners have a natural rolling of the foot after impact that dissipates shock. You have a little more leniency as far as shoe choices.
By understanding the parts of a shoe you can make informed choices about which running shoe is best for you and your feet.
Running shoes are formed on a last. Running shoe last patterns are important for stability. Straight lasts are built along the shoe’s straight arch to provide maximum stability. Semi-curved lasts are molded straight toward the rearfooot while having some curve toward the forefoot. This provides stability and flexibility. Curved lasts are built to curve from the toe to the heel.
Consider your weekly mileage. Are you running more than 32 miles, less than 18 or somewhere in between? Those running high miles may need to invest in a shoe with increased durability. Next, you must consider your BMI. Heavy runners need the added cushion and control. Remember to replace your shoes every 500-600 miles.
Running shoes are changing rapidly. The major shoe companies roll out new designs twice a year. Many offer midsole air, gel, and tube chambers; springs; recoil plates; Gore-Tex and other membrane fabrics; breathable liners and mesh outer fabrics; and better support and stability.
Do your homework, study the shoe reviews and discuss with your doctor.
Along with the warm weather comes an increase in various foot conditions and flip-flop related injuries. Although flip-flops may make your feet feel cool, they are not a good choice for your foot & ankle wellness.
Flip-flops, for the most part, provide no support to the feet and can lead to over-use injuries such as stress fracture of the metatarsals. This is a condition in which repetitive stress to the metatarsal bones in the feet can cause a crack in the bone which occurs without injury, usually with normal activity. This type of stress fracture can lead to having to wear a fracture boot for 4-6 weeks to allow for healing.
Flip-flops can also increase the symptoms and pain of plantar fasciitis. Due to the lack of support and stability there is an increase in stress and strain on the plantar fascia. This lack of support to the feet also increases the risk of ankle injuries such as sprains and fractures.
Flip-flops also leave the toes unprotected and can cause many injuries to the toes and toe nails. Wearers of flip-flops will often scrape or stub their toe which can lead to a nail injury requiring the nail to be removed. A toe fracture can also occur and, in some cases, a fracture shoe will be needed to alleviate pain.
When choosing a shoe, if open toes are a must, please avoid the flimsy, cheap flip-flops. Look for sandals that have support to them and an indented heel cup. Straps to the sandals which can be tightened can also increase stability in the sandal as you walk. Consider moderation for the use of your flip-flops, such as wearing them just to the pool or beach for short periods of time. Please never play sports or mow the grass in your flip-flops. Contact your podiatrist if problems do occur.