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How a Better Pair of Shoes Can Prevent Ankle Sprains

How a Better Pair of Shoes Can Prevent Ankle Sprains

The one drawback to being physically active — especially if you're an athlete — is an increased risk for ankle sprains, as each year, about 2 million ankles get sprained in the United States.

If you’ve already had a sprained ankle, you certainly don’t want another one. Not only are they painful and debilitating, but even a single sprained ankle puts you at increased risk for more sprains, ankle dysfunction, and even arthritis.

At Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists, our providers encourage you to take each ankle sprain seriously so that it heals well and you develop the strength you need to prevent the next sprain. At our offices in Bradenton, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida, we diagnose and treat sprained ankles. 

We also recommend that you pay attention to footwear to prevent your first — or next — sprained ankle. Here’s what to know about how better shoes can keep your ankles stable. 

Go for flats

Flat shoes are by far the safest for your ankles and every other part of your foot. High heels place your foot and entire leg in an unnatural position. If you roll your foot during a trip or if your heel gets stuck in the flooring or ground, the higher the heel, the more potential damage there could be.

If you must wear heels on special occasions, try to keep them as low to the ground as possible. Ideally, the toe box should be roomy, not pointed, so that your toes can grip the bottom of the shoe to help stabilize your foot.

Find the best fit

The most important attribute of a shoe is how well it fits. No matter how beautiful, no matter how well designed, if the shoe is too small, too narrow, too wide, or too big, it puts your ankle at risk.

A good shoe should have about a thumb’s width of space between the big toe and the front of the shoe when you stand still. It should also fit snugly around your heel so your foot doesn’t slide around in your shoe. 

Choose shoes for each activity

Dollar store flip flops may be a fine choice for braving the burning hot sand on the beach, or for padding around the pool. But don’t go for a hike, a run, or even a walk around the block to pick up some groceries wearing flip flops.

Flimsy shoes like flip flops can actually flip over, midstride, so that the toe pad disappears under the midsole. The attachments can break, too. These little mishaps put you at risk for a fall and a twisted ankle.

Choose a pair of shoes for each of your major activities. Research the best shoes for walking around cities, for running, and for sports.

Pay attention to age

Once you find a pair of shoes that are stylish and good for your feet, you may feel like you never want to let them go. However, just as you must replace your tires when the treads wear down, so must you let go of or repair comfy shoes.

Check the soles of your athletic shoes. Are the treads nearly smooth? Are there holes or breaks? Are they too soft to support your feet anymore? Turn over athletic shoes at least once a year; more if you’re an athlete or on your feet all day.

High-quality leather shoes wear out, too. Examine the soles for signs of uneven wear, which can throw your feet out of alignment. A shoe repair service can resole your shoes so that you can walk safely and securely.

Forget about how high the tops are

While you may think that a high top shoe or boot could better support your ankle, that’s not necessarily so. In fact, more than one study has demonstrated that neither low-cut sneakers nor high tops is better for sprain prevention.

Consider customized orthotics

It’s normal for your feet to roll slightly side to side when you walk or run. However, if you overpronate (that is, roll too far inward) or underpronate (roll too far outward), you’re at increased risk for an ankle sprain or other foot injuries.

At Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer gait analysis to determine if you’re an under- or overpronator, have flat arches, or have other conditions that put you at risk for foot pain. If your feet need more support to stay in healthy alignment, we may recommend customized orthotic inserts.

Orthotics are custom-molded to fit your feet. We can create orthotics for your various shoe styles, including athletic shoes. Orthotics increase your comfort and even your speed.

Have you sprained your ankle or are you at increased risk for a new sprain? Contact Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists for a sprained ankle evaluation today by calling or booking an appointment online at one of our offices.

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