Most common sports injuries can be prevented IF the proper footwear is worn.
Most nagging sports injuries start at your feet; Specifically, what you are wearing on them.
In this post I want to briefly explain how wearing improper shoes can negatively affect your training and lead to injury.
Shoes are usually neglected by most and are often the actual source of injury.
Getting the right shoes with the right fit has dramatically reduced the nagging injuries and ailments that athletes most commonly suffer.
They get worn out and lose their support, causing your arches to have to work harder (and fatigue faster) than usual, which usually leads to: foot pain, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and even runner’s or jumper’s knee.
Typically, the real cause of an injury starts at your feet!
Our feet are the first structure of our body to make contact with the ground, receiving the impact and affecting each joint upwards.
Any difference in gait or misalignment at the feet, will undoubtedly create changes at the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, and neck (not necessarily in any particular order or sequence).
Making sure you are using shoes appropriate for the type of training you are doing (that provide you with the support you need) is very important in preventing injury.
(Converse sneakers, Vans, flip flops): I get it, you like to stay with the trends and like to wear your Converse and Vans, but be aware of how long you are wearing them because this will affect your training.
And that’s cool.
But those shoes have a flat sole and have practically no arch support for your feet.
No need to panic.
I am not telling you to not wear those anymore!
(Take a deep breath)
This is easily solved by switching out the insole of the sneaker with one that DOES have some nice arch support, like a Dr. Scholl’s or any other you can find at your local Walgreens, CVS, or Amazon.com.
Being on your feet for a long period of time, like working at a restaurant or kitchen, or being in school, is another culprit for why your feet hurt.
So if I’m talking to you, just be aware of this and use the tip I just mentioned.
Sometimes, just switching up the shoes you wear from day-to-day will make a significant difference.
It might sound obvious, but using old shoes to run or train in is a bad idea.
It is another common reason why you get foot pain or other injuries.
The wear and tear of shoes causes them to loose the arch support and make it harder on your feet.
Without that cushion, the muscle on the bottom of your feet (your sole, arch) have to work more and they fatigue and lead to soreness and pain which can then lead to inflammation and injury.
Hard to believe, I know, but it happens more than you would think!
Athletes/people sometimes neglect paying attention to the fit of the shoe in the long run. For example, thinking that a tight or snug fit at the moment will eventually expand when the shoes are broken into. However, if you are not wearing the right size, the tight fit will cause blisters, toe pain, Achilles pain, arch pain, and more.
Take a look at your shoes. Inspect the outer and inner sole and look for signs of wear.
Catch It Early!
Once you begin to feel the first signs of discomfort (like on the arches or sides of your feet) you should stop to take a look at your shoes and inspect the outer and inner sole to look for signs of wear.
Take a look at your shoes and see if it’s time to switch them up!
There are also some quick tips you can do to take care of those initial aches and pains as you switch out those shoes that will most likely help you out in the long run (no pun intended ha).
Use a lacrosse ball to massage the bottom of your feet. (You can get one here: Lacrosse Balls – NCAA NFHS Certified – Yellow ) Sit on a chair and place the ball under your bare foot. Begin by doing gentle rolls that cover the entire area of the foot to increase blood flow and tissue temperature. Do this for a couple of minutes and then increase the pressure you apply with the ball on your foot, followed by finding tender spots. Once you find these tender spots (or ‘knots’), hold with applied constant pressure for 15-30 seconds, taking deep breaths. Repeat this for all tender spots you have and finish by gently rolling the entire foot again with tolerable force.
You can also use a golf ball or tennis ball, I just prefer the lacrosse ball because of it’s smooth texture and density.
Another soothing thing to do for aching feet is rolling them with ice to reduce soreness and pain. The easiest and most convenient way to do this is to freeze a plastic bottle full of water and place it on a towel on the floor and roll the bottom of your foot back and forth in a steady motion.
Here’s a quick video that walks you through how to use these 2 tips for your aching feet: