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Several feet in a circle wearing sneakers

Does the Shoe Fit? Proper Footwear Helps Prevent Injuries.

By: Kellie Gilmartin MSED, ATC

Athletes are constantly looking for the best gear for their sport, but do these same athletes consider the importance of their shoes? Too often, an athlete wears shoes that are old, worn, and don’t properly fit their foot type. This is one of the many causes of shin, ankle, and foot injuries. Common injuries include: shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis in the foot, ankle, and Achilles tendon. In some extreme cases, improper footwear can lead to stress fractures.

Children face the same potential injuries as adult athletes. If your child runs track, it’s imperative they wear the proper type of shoe for their foot. At CHKD, our physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists can identify your child’s foot type and teach them strategies to prevent injuries. Our Running Program team can evaluate running-related injuries and create a comprehensive running-specific rehabilitation program including shoe evaluation and video running analysis.

Know your child’s foot characteristics.

There are three main types of feet: pronated, supinated, and neutral.

  • A foot that pronates is typically referred to as having flat feet; it has little to no arch. This causes the foot to naturally roll inward and lay flat on the ground, causing more stress on the inside portion of the foot and ankle.
  • A foot that supinates is typically referred to as having a high arch. This causes the foot to naturally roll outward and puts more stress on the outside portion of the foot and ankle.
  • A neutral foot has an adequate arch and support when standing. It does not supinate or pronate and enables good stability while standing.

Not all shoes fit alike.

There are mainly three types of stabilities offered when looking at shoes: motion control, cushion, and stability.

  • A motion control shoe is preferred for a foot that pronates. These shoes offer more support in the arch and help control mid-foot motion, providing more stability in that region.
  • A cushioned shoe is preferred for a foot that supinates. These shoes give better shock absorption, which can decrease impact-related injuries to athletes with supinated feet.
  • A stability shoe is preferred for a neutral foot. These shoes provide good stability and cushion, which is ideal for neutral feet.

In addition to making sure your child wear the correct shoes for their feet, you should also consider the age of their footwear. Running shoes typically lose their treads and stability after three months. In other words, the shoe no longer provides the appropriate arch support and shock absorption to the foot and ankle and may lead to many injuries.

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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.