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Close up shot of runner's shoes

Choosing the Proper Footwear for Your Young Athlete

By Bridget Lee, ATC

You have probably heard the saying that no two snowflakes are the same. This can also stand true for athletes and the types of shoes they need.

Athletes can have high arches, regular arches, or no arch support at all. For athletes to perform their best, the shape of their arches should determine the type of shoes they wear.

It’s especially important that track and field athletes use proper footwear. Studies have shown they have an increased risk of stress fractures throughout the lower body. Pair this with improper footwear and the individual athlete can have a wide range of problems.

Indeed, the body is one big kinetic chain. Ensuring you have proper footwear can decrease your risk of injury throughout your lower body.

If you need running shoes, make sure to consult a running store that has the necessary tools and experienced staff to recommend the proper shoe for your running style.

To help make the most out of your running shoes, you should own multiple pairs, run on a proper surface, and dry them out after running in inclement weather. Some experts also recommend you change running shoes every 300 to 500 miles.

There are a couple other indicators that you may need new shoes. Symptoms include increased pain in the arches of your feet, or other areas in your lower body, and significant wear and tear on the soles of your shoes.

If you’re concerned about your student-athlete, the running medicine team at CHKD can perform a biomechanical assessment of their running mechanics and create a comprehensive rehabilitation program, if needed. We offer video running analysis, using Dartfish software, to help identify even the smallest technique errors that may be contributing to injury, pain, or poor performance.

For more information, or to schedule a running analysis, call Grace Murphy at (757) 668-2390 or email

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About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.