Can shoes save your ankles?

Whether they play for the New York Knicks or scramble in the park, basketball players are rough on their feet and ankles. The game is action-packed, so making twists, turns, jumps, and other quick moves is impossible to avoid. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a player to deal with aches, sprains, tears, and even breaks over the course of a career.

A few years back, though, Barry Katz, a former college basketball player and now radiologist, came up with a shoe concept to help eliminate these issues: Ektios. NPR reports that Katz’ specialized shoe acts more like a boot, keeping the foot and the shoe together so that rolls, and the possibility of a torn ligament or sprain, don’t happen.

As you may have noticed, however, Katz’ shoe is still in its initial testing phase. They aren’t the most popular shoe on the market, and they certainly aren’t large enough to sponsor a team and outfit them with products.

It’s hard to imagine that a shoe can completely prevent injury, but the concept behind Ektios is smart. When it comes to protecting our feet, equipment certainly does matter. Here are a few examples.

Size

A key factor in foot health is shoes that fit properly. Whether you’re wearing sandals, sneakers, loafers, or heels, you’ll have trouble if they are ill-fitting. In fact, your toes and gait will adjust to accommodate the poor fit. This can lead to something as simple as sore feet at the end of the day to bunions or hammertoes as you age. This is especially important to remember with children, whose feet can grow and change quickly.

Support

Arch support matters, especially if you have flat feet. Katz was certainly onto something when he thought of offering built-in ankle protection. High-tops can also be a helpful way to support your legs, and they come in a variety of colors and styles for various activities. Support can also come from accessories like braces and socks, and we would be happy to discuss of these options are right for you.

Quality

You don’t have to drop a ton of money on your shoes, but it’s important to think about materials when you make a purchase. For example, hiking boots with arch support and ankle protection will serve you much better than a pair of $.99 flip-flops when you hit the trails to backpack and hike. If you need help making a selection, we’re happy to refer you to a medical supply companies that may even offer a pair or two covered by your insurance. When it comes down to it, spending a little more upfront to keep your feet and ankles safe will save you money down the line when you avoid strenuous physical therapy and repairative surgeries.

It’s exciting to think that shoes are being designed to keep us healthy. Making small changes to your footwear can have a big pay off in later years, so be sure to make your selections carefully. If you have questions along the way, we’re here to help!

Posted in: Ankle

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Dr. Hubbard’s goal as a Foot and Ankle Surgeon is to provide expertise in achieving an accurate diagnosis, implementing exceptional surgical technique whenever indicated, and most importantly, utilizing practical judgment to devise an effective individualized treatment plan that will restore the patient’s foot or ankle health and function, improving their overall quality of life.