The primary purpose of shoes is supporting and protecting the feet, but when many people shop for shoes, they are more focused on fashion, work dress codes, or comfort than anything else. Unfortunately, this can leave people’s feet and ankles exposed to injury.
For athletes and people who have already suffered ankle injuries, complex part of your body, wearing the wrong footwear is a risk that is not worth taking. Fortunately, the following pointers make finding the best protective shoes fairly easy.
Buying shoes that fit correctly is the first step toward protecting the ankle. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society reports 88 percent of women wear the wrong size shoe.
Of course, the problem can affect men and children as well. Having feet professionally sized can help, but since shoe sizing varies between brands, it is better for buyers to evaluate how each shoe choice fits. In general, shoes with moderate cushioning and plenty of contact with the ground provide the best ankle support.
However, a specialty store that offers a gait analysis will be able to recommend shoes that fit a person’s needs based on factors like arch size and pronation.
What Women Should Wear
Women experience a high rate of foot and ankle problems because of their footwear. Shoes that are narrow, high-heeled, or cramped force the foot into an unnatural position and alter the way a woman walks, which can put strain on the joints.
Women also have a higher incidence of arthritis than men do, so they may have a greater risk of ankle arthritis even before harmful footwear is factored in. Women can reduce the risk by doing the following:
- Wearing shoes that are long and wide enough
- Limiting how often they wear high heels, wedges, and platform shoes
- Using pads or cushioning to support and protect their feet
- Performing stretches to maintain ankle flexibility
Women should choose supportive shoes over purely fashionable shoes when possible and shop for shoes later in the day, when feet are swollen to their largest size.
Advice for Physically Active People
Adequate ankle protection is crucial for people who lead active lifestyles, especially those who do high-impact sports, such as basketball, soccer, and running. Shoes that stabilize the heel can help prevent ankle rolls and strains.
Some cushioning or padding is beneficial, but excessive padding can actually decrease stability and cause more injuries if the wearer has underdeveloped strength or flexibility. In addition to picking the correct shoes, people who are physically active must replace their shoes frequently.
Walking or running shoes have a lifespan of 350 to 500 miles. It is usually time to invest in a new pair of shoes if the heel is worn down, the shoe visibly has molded to the shape of the foot, or the midsole can no longer be compressed by hand.
Final Buying Tips
Buying footwear that fits correctly and is built for support rather than style is the easiest way to prevent ankle problems.
People who are buying footwear that will be worn frequently can benefit from buying from a specialty shop, where they can find shoes that are ideal for their medical history, lifestyle, and body mechanics.
Although buying the most expensive shoes may not pay off, investing time and a reasonable amount of money in appropriate shoes can make all the difference in preventing ankle injuries.