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Choosing Shoes for Weak Ankles

  • Category: Foot & Ankle
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Jonathan Kaplan, MD
Choosing Shoes for Weak Ankles

Should people with weak ankles choose a specific type of shoe to wear for activities such as jogging or playing soccer? We spoke to Jonathan Kaplan, MD, Hoag Orthopedic Institute foot and ankle surgeon, about his recommendations.

Q: What should people with weak ankles or previous ankle injuries look for when choosing a shoe for athletic activities?

A: Patients with a history of ankle injuries or ankle instability should look for a shoe that has sufficient arch support to accommodate their foot, while ensuring that the shape of the shoe and arch matches their own unique arch and alignment. Additionally, with ankle issues, the shoe should have enough support in the ankle and hindfoot (rear region of the foot) to support the inversion and eversion that occurs while being physically active. Lastly, I often advise my patients to pay close attention to the lacing and tongue of the shoe as they should allow for the user to be able to adjust or alternative the lacing pattern to provide support around the ankle region.

Q: What are the benefits of wearing shoes with good ankle support when doing activities such as running or walking?

A: By wearing a supportive shoe while running or walking, it can not only try to reduce the likelihood of injury should a misstep occur, but also aide in the mechanics of these activities. A shoe that provides sufficient support yet is not overly restrictive will allow the user to move through the natural progression of heel strike to toe off in a smooth manner without impeding the three-dimensional motions that are occurring with each step or stride.

Q: Is wearing high-top shoes beneficial for weak ankles?

A: Ultimately, it would depend on the nature of the activity being performed as well as the strength and stability of the user. High-tops may provide additional support around the ankle compared to low tops, which can be beneficial for an array of physical activities however other activities such as distance running may not be as beneficial.

With all shoes, it is important for the athlete to consider the nature of their support in combination with the strength and stability around the ankle. Additionally, the athlete should take time to test out the shoe and ensure that it provides sufficient support while allowing the mechanics needed to compete, with high tops being a good example of how a shoe can work well for one athlete but poorly for another.

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