Patients ask me all the time if these new, popular types of shoes and athletic wear are good or bad for us. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple answer, and deserves some delving into.
For a normal, structurally sound foot and ankle that is free of malady and not subject to overly-stressful use – sure, it’s fine, and likely comfortable, and these types of shoes probably won’t cause any problems. But, if we’re being perfectly honest, how many of us have lower extremities that fit that description?
Today’s workouts, exercise routines, and sports really do push our limits. We are a social society that aims to meet the extreme. Given that, if you really want to be competitive and push yourself without openly risking injury, the minimalist shoe is likely not for you.
Instead, we recommend strong and sturdy athletic shoe wear that supports the heel, midfoot, and forefoot during all phases of motion (what’s known as the gait cycle). The shoes you select should take into account your weight, type of foot posture, strength of musculature and bone, as well as tone and flexibility of the entire lower extremity (hip, thigh, leg, ankle, and foot). The shoes should be activity- and terrain-specific. There is a real difference in the forces you are creating and overcoming between running on a treadmill, playing basketball on a hard surface, playing tennis on clay courts, and golfing on the grass.
While you can often gain proper shoe advice from the sales people at your local shoe store, unfortunately, sales incentives tend to drive their advice. Come see a doctor to gain sound, unbiased advice and performance recommendations. We’re always happy and eager to help you understand your anatomy, its strengths, and its limitations, so we can find the shoe that maximizes your abilities and helps prevent injury.
Ari Rubinstein DPM
Return to Activity That’s Our Goal; Stronger, Faster, Smarter Healing