General Athletic Shoes

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If you are an experienced athlete or are just trying to stay active, it is important that you wear the proper footwear when exercising. Many sports and activities have shoes designed specifically for the activity. For example, running shoes are designed to support your feet and ankles from repeatedly pounding your feet on the pavement.

Before starting any athletic activity, including walking, be sure to have shoes that will give you the comfort and support that you need.

What to look for in athletic shoes

No matter what sport you play, when selecting athletic shoes, be sure the shoes: 

  • Are not too old. Worn shoes can lack the necessary support.
  • Have an adequately sized toe box that allows you to wiggle your toes. 
  • Have proper stability and cushioning for the specific activity. 
  • Snugly fit at the heel.

When shopping for athletic shoes, you should also remember these tips: 

  • Buy athletic shoes at the end of the day because your feet are typically swollen at that time. 
  • Comfort, support, and proper fit should come before style. 
  • If one foot is larger than the other, size your shoes for the larger foot. 
  • If you wear orthotics, bring them with you to get proper fit. 
  • Purchase shoes that are designed for the activity (i.e. don't buy soccer cleats for running). Your podiatrist or an employee at a specialty shoe store can help you choose the proper shoe.
  • Wear the same type of socks you plan to use for the activity when you get your shoes fitted.

Issues created by improper fit

Your athletic shoes should give your feet and ankles the support they need to avoid injury or other foot conditions. Improperly fitted athletic shoes can cause numerous problems, including:

  • Achilles tendonitis. 
  • Ankle sprains and ligament tears. 
  • Arch pain (plantar fasciitis). 
  • Athlete's foot. 
  • Blisters, calluses, and corns. 
  • Bone spurs. 
  • Calf and knee pain. 
  • Fractures. 
  • Heel pain. 
  • Muscle strains. 
  • Neuroma. 
  • Pulled muscles. 
  • Sesamoiditis (pain in the ball of the foot).
  • Shin splints. 
  • Stress fractures (of the toes, foot, and ankle). 
  • Tendon problems.
  • Toenail bruising, bleeding, and irritation.

If you suffer an injury due to improper footwear or if you have questions about the proper footwear for an athletic activity, visit a skilled podiatrist.

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