If you’ve ever been tempted to save money by buying those bargain trainers at the supermarket along with your pint of milk, then you might want to read on. However you choose to keep fit – by running, walking, or just putting in cardio and weight hours at the gym – a proper sports shoe is essential.
You’ve probably had blisters from walking even short distances in ill-fitting shoes, but inadequate sports shoes can go beyond blisters and cause damage to your feet and ankles. If you don’t want to completely derail your fitness regime, it’s time to go shoe-shopping.
All shoes are not created equal; if you’re a runner, look for a running shoe that has inbuilt shock absorbers, and look for runners’ socks as well, with compression support around the instep and a double layer that won’t irritate your toes and heels. For exercise classes with a high aerobic content, look for lightweight shoes which will cushion your feet and stop them getting tired. If you vary your workouts to incorporate a lot of different exercise types and sports, look for shoes specifically designed to protect your feet and ankles in a multitude of ways. Walkers are also a special case; the type of terrain you exercise on the most will determine whether you’re looking for a supportive trainer or a proper walking shoe or even boot.
As with any other shoe, go shopping for your workout footwear late in the day, as that’s when your feet are largest, and don’t forget to take a pair of sports socks with you so that you’re getting the same foot feel as when you exercise. Unless you’re looking for a martial arts shoe, make sure the sole isn’t too flexible, otherwise you won’t get adequate support from it. Also, your shoes won’t last forever – if you’re working out three to four times a week, your sports shoes are getting quite a hammering. A good rule of thumb is to replace them twice a year.
Foot injuries don’t just come through poor-fitting sports shoes; it could be that you have underlying issues – even just corns, calluses and bunions – that are exacerbated by the wrong kind of shoe, and need more than just a few corn plasters and a trip to a podiatrist. If you have other musculoskeletal issues, such as patches of arthritis, or back pain, you might be even more in need of specialist advice. However, it’s not always easy to get to see your doctor at a convenient time, and then you might have to wait even longer to see a specialist, seriously cutting into not just your everyday workout regime, but your day to day comfort as well.
To get back to your best as soon as possible, book an appointment at the LBH orthopaedics department. Limiting the time from initial assessment to treatment combined with good advice on recovery will ensure that you avoid future problems.