Workout Injury Prevention Begins with Good Shoes

running shoes pegged on a wooden wall

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

This classic proverb can apply in so many different contexts, including when you get hurt while exercising or working out. You are trying to do something good, something right for your body and then the next thing you know, you have ankle pain when running or heel pain first thing in the morning. That can be incredibly frustrating, right?

The good news is that you can come to our office and see your friendly neighborhood Spiderman/foot doc and get the treatment you need. Even better, most sports injuries are successfully resolved without needing surgery and, with preventative measures, you can often avoid the problem in the first place.

When it comes to sports injury prevention—specifically, foot and ankle sports injuries—a good starting point is with the footwear you choose.

It’s easy to be unaware of this, since your body handles it naturally, but you place tremendous amounts of force on your feet with every step. Simply walking puts up to four times your bodyweight on your foot when it lands. Running places even more – as much as six times your weight! That is a lot of force, and it really adds up.

Since there is so much pressure on your feet, even the slightest mechanical flaws can lead to major problems. One of the biggest areas for potential issue in this regard is pronation. Pronation is a natural, inward-rolling motion your feet go through during the “ground contact portion” of a step. This is helpful for proper distribution of forces.

Excessive pronation throws off that distribution, placing excessive force in areas not intended to handle them. A good way to help reduce your risk of injury during running and other high-impact activities is to wear shoes that limit pronation.

When you purchase your running shoes, make sure to find ones that feature a stiff heel counter.

Heel counters are plastic inserts that increase support and reinforce the heel cup in shoes. They can cradle the heel and arch in your foot to reduce overpronation. A good, firm heel counter will lock your foot into the shoe and anchor it to the midsole.

In addition to heel counters, you simply must make sure you pick shoes that feature adequate cushioning and solid construction. This can help reduce your risk of fatigued tissue in your lower limbs. Fatigue in bones can lead to stress fractures. A mature stress fracture will definitely sideline you, since you need to rest (reduced activity) to recover from the injury. The tough Guy Motto “No pain…No gain” will lead you down the road to ruin regarding your feet.

Footwear choices play an important role in injury prevention, but so too can orthotics. If you have flat feet or abnormally high foot arches, you may benefit from a pair of custom orthotics to make sure your pronation is in a normal range. Unlike most other podiatrist offices, we are able to test how effective orthotics will be for you before you are committed to them. This can either help you see how much help they will provide for you or save you the money from buying a pair if you don’t actually need them. The OTC inserts may provide some improvement if the correction you need is minor. Beware of the OTC inserts that you will pay custom prices for at the Not So Good Feet store.

There are certainly other components of foot and ankle sports injury prevention—stretching, cross-training, etc.—but having the right pair of shoes is a wise starting point.

For more information, or to request an appointment if you are in need of sports injury treatment, connect with us online or give our Indianapolis, IN office a call at (317) 545-0505.

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