Saturday, 24 February 2007

Footwear and my feet

I don't really look at the price of the pair of running shoe when I go shopping for one. More often than not, I would already have an idea of a reputable shoe manufacturer. My brother and I both have flat feet and overpronation. For obvious reasons, we would look for something light, breathable, durable, an insole with proper arch support, semi-rigid mid-sole with good stability. However, my requirements are generally for running on the treadmill and some cycling. Even my working leather shoes are selected with such specifications to allow me to occasionally jog down the alley when I need to. I have a 2 pairs of running shoes, 4 pairs of costly leather shoes and another 2 pairs of cheap shoes.

Every athlete should find out whether they have special requirements due to abnormalities in walking, running and jumping pattern (gait) required during training and competition. Check with your shoe manufacturer whether they have shoes which are specific for your condition. Not all expensive shoes have such requirements. Check whether the mid-sole provides sufficient stability, support and flexibility. Check whether the outer-sole is suitable for the different surfaces of the court or field. You may need to check with a podiatrist if you constantly find it difficult to obtain good shoes which do not cause pain to your feet, ankle and knees. A video of your walking and running pattern could highlight some possible problems and solutions.

You should always try out the shoe first and do all the different skills required in your sport with it. However, it will often take 2 weeks (at least) before you will find the shoe comfortable enough to be worn (break-in). I also use some preformed orthotics for some of my patients if they have abnormalities in gait and recurrent ankle, foot and knee problems with good results.

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