Footwear is something in the sporting world that can often be over looked. We buy a pair of trainers for multiple uses and use them for a prolonged period of time until they are falling apart and wonder why we sustain injuries.
Overuse injuries can be sustained from not wearing well fitting footwear or the wrong type of footwear for the activity these include;
- Shin splints
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heel pain
- Patella femoral pain
Other traumatic injuries that can occur from poor footwear include;
- Sprained ankles
- Bruised toes and nails
How to choose the right footwear
- Buy for your specific sport don’t get walking trainers for running and vice versa. Sports like tennis require more ankle support than running shoes and will have different grips that are suited to the surfaces you are exercising on
- Buy for your foot type. If you have low arches then a shoe that has more arch support would be beneficial. Shoe brands have many different models for different foot types. If you are unsure about your foot type then it is a really good idea to see a specialist that can help. www.bootsure.co.uk is one of these specialists who has a wealth of knowledge in this area.
- When trying a pair on you want wiggle room for your toes
- Footwear should be comfortable from the moment you try them on
- You want a snug fit around the heel and midfoot and a thumbs width between your longest toe and end of your shoe.
I often get clients suffering from injuries and when we discuss their trainers it comes apparent that they probably need to be replaced.
Footwear only has a certain amount of mileage before it starts to offer less support and could cause injuries to develop. Roughly a running shoe should be replaced between 300-400 miles.
Some of us however don’t actually know the mileage we run especially if playing a team sport. So the other way to ascertain whether your shoes need replacing is whether the soles are worn especially the heel and if they become less comfortable. It is best to be cautious and buy a new pair so you can gradually break them in while the old pair still have some life in them. This again will reduce the occurrence of injuries.
Footwear as a injury treatment
So poor footwear can cause injury but they can also be used to help treat injuries. If you have a lower limb injury it is always a good idea to take your footwear to your physio or sport therapist. This will allow them to see any wear on your shoes that might indicate poor biomechanics. They can then advise you if a different type of shoe would suit your foot type.
Also sport shoes can be fitted with orthotics to help support your foot in the right areas generating better foot biomechanics and relieving over stressed structures. Cushioning from footwear can also help support feet by reducing unwanted foot motion e.g. pronation. Lacing of shoes can also make a difference it can reduce heel slippage and allow for a snugger fit.
By having properly fitting sporting footwear you can reduce the occurrence of injuries. Your feet are something that need to be looked after as they take a huge amount of stress. When injured they affect your mobility and quality of life. Feet deserve a well fitting pair of sport shoes to allow them to do their job.