Fall is a great time for sports. Football has kicked into high gear. Baseball and soccer are barreling toward their respective playoffs. And it won’t be too long now until basketball and hockey seasons are upon us. That all certainly applies to the collegiate and professional levels, but there’s also so much happening at the high school level as well.
With nearly 83,000 students, the Austin Independent School District is the largest in Central Texas. This means thousands of student-athletes are either in-season right now, or will be soon!
Naturally, not every team can win the championship, but we are rooting for the teams at Westlake, Westwood, Akins, and Eastside Memorial as they compete on the fields and courts. More than team success, though, our main hope is that as many athletes will stay as safe as possible. A major consideration when it comes to injury prevention is the role shoes play in sports.
The importance of athletic footwear is linked strongly to the importance of feet and ankles for sports and physical activities. Whenever we run or jump, our feet work hard for us. In return, we should show them a little love by making sure they have the equipment they need.
Keeping that in mind, here are some tips to follow with regards to buying athletic shoes:
- Shop at the right store. This is especially true in the case of running shoes, but your best bet is to go to a store that caters specifically to athletes. Even better is when the store specializes in the specific sport you or your child participates in. The reason for this is the personnel at these kinds of stores tend to be more knowledgeable. (For example, many running stores are actually staffed with runners.)
- Shop at the right time. In addition to knowing where to go for your athletic shoes, it helps to know when to go. You might not be aware of this, but feet tend to widen throughout the day. This means a pair of shoes that fits first thing in the morning may be too tight come the evening. For optimal fit and comfort, shop for shoes in the early evening. As a thought, this tends to be less important for children (especially younger ones) than it does for adults.
- Choose activity-appropriate footwear. The sport you play should dictate the type of shoes you buy. Whereas it is certainly possible to run in a pair of loafers or basketball shoes, these footwear are not intended to be used in this manner for extended periods of time. Running shoes have cushioning specifically intended to help absorb the forces that come with pounding pavement repeatedly. Basketball shoes feature higher tops to better support the ankle joint. Etc.
- Know your pronation style. If you are a runner, knowing if you under- or overpronate will make a difference in the type of running shoe you should buy. Not sure which style you use? Either check the wear pattern on the bottoms of older shoes—overpronation causes excessive wear on the inner edge, under-pronation causes excessive wear on the outer edge—or come see us and we'll be happy to help.
- Measure your feet. Have both of your feet measured. You will find that one is probably bigger than the other (to at least a certain degree). Find shoes that match up to the larger foot.
- Try the shoes on. It is important to actually try on the shoes you are buying. Being a size 10 for one shoe doesn’t mean you’ll be a size 10 for another. There is variance between different shoe manufacturers.
Having the right footwear is a smart way to reduce your risk of possible foot and ankle sports injuries, but this is really just a starting point. Stretching, nutrition, and hydration also come into play. And, of course, it isn’t realistic that you will be able to eliminate all injury risk during physical activity – you are simply trying to minimize it as best as possible.
In the event you need more information on how shoes and sports are related—or you have sustained a foot or ankle injury and need treatment—contact North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. Call us at (512) 593-2949 and request your appointment with either our Round Rock or Cedar Park offices today.