You may normally be a runner and decide that you want to mix it up. So you head over to the tennis courts and start to play. Tennis is perfect for social distancing! When you head out you put on your running shoes and think nothing of it. While you are playing you realize that your foot is hurting so you tie your laces tighter thinking you need more support. And then you go racing for a ball at the net, you turn and so does your ankle. You notice that is immediately painful and you have a hard time putting your weight on your foot. So, you hobble off of the court and nurse your ankle at home. Eventually, you need to call your podiatrist because it is getting worse. You’ve never sprained your ankle and you wonder why? Your podiatrist explains that you’ve worn the wrong type of shoe for your activity.
Your podiatrist gives you a good explanation and it all has to do with your shoe choice. Running shoes are made for activities involving mostly forward motion and shock absorption. They really don’t allow for pivoting motions as these are uncommon in running and walking. When you pivot during tennis, basketball, Zumba or other dance workouts while you are wearing running shoes, you are at high risk for an injury. As you pivot while wearing a running shoe, you have no support on the sides of your foot and ankle. So, you can just roll abnormally from the side of your foot and sprain your ankle or foot and possibly have a fracture as well.
If you were wearing a tennis shoe, basketball shoe, or cross-trainer, you would have better motion while pivoting your foot and ankle. So, the shoe choice is very important.
Running shoes typically have a thick padded area on the bottom for shock absorption. This is the most important feature of a running shoe due to the great stress placed on the body while running. Tennis shoes and basketball shoes have much less padding and they tend to be much more flexible. This flexibility helps with the necessary side movements performed during tennis and basketball. A cross-trainer shoe can be good for many activities including tennis, Zumba, weight lifting, and the elliptical machine. These trainers offer more support than a tennis shoe or sneaker while allowing for the side motions necessary for these activities.
Shoes do make a big difference. It is important to choose the right shoe type for your activity to avoid injuries. Even if you do choose the proper shoes, it is also important to make sure that the shoe has the proper support for your arch. Many people have flat feet or weak arches and a shoe is not enough support regardless of the cost. When involved in sports or other activities, lack of support can lead to foot pain as well. It is important to discuss orthotic devices with your podiatrist to place in your shoes for all activities.
If you have foot and ankle pain or you’ve suffered an injury. Call your podiatrist to get immediate treatment. Letting these problems linger can often lead to slower healing and more time away from the activities you enjoy.