Proper foot care for the sports enthusiast is important to prevent injury and undue stress to the foot or ankle. Common foot injuries include blisters, sprained ankles, torn ligaments, shin splints, and muscle strain. Helpful hints for athletes include bathing the feet regularly and drying between the toes thoroughly to reduce skin breakdown. Wearing cotton socks reduce friction and wick sweat. Proper fitting footwear which is designed for the sport and surface can reduce impact and stress. Proper warm-up and cool down and stretching can reduce the risk of injury.
Basketball requires a large variety of movements and most commonly cause ankle sprains. Basketball shoes should have a wide toe box which allows movement of the toes. The shoe should contain a combination of breathable and sturdy materials to reduce injury and reduce moisture. The sole of the shoe should offer shock absorption and bend at the forefoot (front) rather than the middle of the shoe. The heel of the shoe should fit snugly to reduce motion at the heel. Finally, the shoe should be laced to allow for a firm fit.
Shin splints is a common condition in runners and those who participate in repetitive impact activities. This is often due to muscle inflammation of the lower leg leading to an aching or tearing sensation at the front of the leg. There is usually some degree of alteration in the motion of the foot and leg through the gait cycle, usually twisting. Prevention of shin splint can be accomplished with stretching and icing. Orthotics and impact resistant shoes are most common in treating this condition. Surgery is very rare.
Bicycling is a popular form of entertainment and exercise as it is a low impact activity. For those who only occasionally ride, a regular running shoe is often enough if it is in good condition. For regular cyclists investing in a cycling shoe is critical to reducing stress within the foot. A cycling shoe should be a snug fitting shoe with a stiff sole. The sole reduces movement in the foot and distributes the weight more evenly. These should also be moisture wicking to reduce skin chaffing. Have a cycle shop adjust and fit the clips for the shoe to ensure they are comfortable and safe. Unlike road bikes, mountain bikes often require a more rugged shoe with good traction. A stiff sole is still recommended to reduce bending and twisting within the foot.
Tennis is a sport which requires rapid stop, stop, and side to side motions are frequent. There are also various types of courts including natural stone courts, artificial rubber, and cement. Ankle sprain and stress fractures are common in this sport due to the unique motion required to play. Tennis shoes are very important to reduce shock within the foot and provide a stable platform. Unlike running shoes, tennis shoes allow for side to side moment. These usually have a reduced flare in the heel and more support at the heel to prevent the shoe from sliding or shifting.
Stress fractures are a small incomplete break of a bone. These usually begin as a hairline break due to repetitive or prolonged stress to a bone. This frequently occurs after an increase in activity that is different than the routine. Athletes are prone to this but they can happen to anyone. A stress fracture can cause pain which is increased with activity and reduces with rest. It is fairly localized to one spot on the foot. There is occasionally swelling or bruising. X-rays can sometimes see a stress fracture but occasionally an MRI or CT scan is required to see the crack as it can be quite small. Treatment usually requires reduced activity or complete rest of the foot. Casting, immobilization, or walking in a boot or shoe is also very common. The largest concern for a stress fracture is a complete fracture of the bone which would require surgery to heal properly.
Every brand of shoe has good and bad shoes in their lineup. Knowing what to look for is key to choosing a comfortable and supportive shoe. A shoe should have a stiff and well-fitting counter (heel). If it is soft or floppy this will not stabilize the heel well. The sole should bend at the toes rather than in the middle. Looking at the back of the shoe the rubber sole should be level and firm. A heel that squishes and tilts while standing can lead to injury. Finally, there should be enough room at the toe box to allow space for your toes to move.
Golfing shoes can vary from a sandal, tennis shoe, or cleat. A good golfing shoe should have lots of traction, with a snug fit. Usually a laced shoe should provide this. The shoe should also breath well and wick moisture. A cotton sock is also recommended to reduce friction and prevent blistering. Golfers who decide to use spikes should take time to adjust to the new style of shoe as it will feel completely different than a regular street shoe. The spikes should last nearly the life of the shoe and can be made from a large variety of materials. The upper should be made of a sturdy material which has is supportive to the foot.
Running or jogging
Runners and joggers will find that shoes can make or break a good run. The shoes are designed to reduce impact and provide guidance to the foot throughout gait. Due to the demands of running a running shoe should provide allot of shock absorption. This is especially important when running on cement. When buying shoes, you should keep in mind there are many factors to consider. First pronators and supinators require very different shoes. If you do not know which type of foot you have, you should have an exam toe help you find the right shoe. Next you should consider what type of surface on which you plan to run or jog such as concrete, dirt trails, grass, or rocks. Finally, the fit of the shoe is to be closely considered. The foot should be snug within the shoe. Socks reduce friction and moisture and should be made of natural cotton. There should be no seams or catches that might irritate the foot. The shoe should always have laces rather than any type of buckle. The heel should not be loose to prevent motion at the heel or blisters. The shoe should be replaced approximately every 300-400 miles.