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Are Your Shoes to Blame for Your Ankle Pain?

Sometimes, your ankle pain is the result of a sudden injury or an underlying disease and is totally out of your control. Other times, the choice you make on footwear is to blame. 

Here, our team of experts at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group exposes some of the worst shoe slip-ups that are likely behind your ankle pain.

A closer look at your ankle

It might seem like a small, insignificant part of your body, but there’s actually a lot riding on your ankle. Your ankle is the meeting spot for three large, important bones: the tibia and fibula (your shin bones) and the talus, which is the foot bone that sits just above your heel. 

Your ankle is responsible for allowing your foot to move up, down, and to the side. There’s also a complex network of ligaments (tough bands of tissue that connect bones to each other) and tendons that surround your ankle and hold your lower leg and foot together. 

In short, your ankle has a big job to do every day, and, unfortunately, it’s one of the most vulnerable parts of your body — even the wrong shoes can have a huge impact. 

How your shoes are causing ankle pain

Whether you’re an avid runner or you just enjoy being able to get around easily, your ankle is a crucial part of your anatomy — and you should find the shoes that support them as such. If you identify with any of the following footwear issues, it’s time to invest in a new pair.

Your shoes don’t fit

Both too tight and too big are big no-nos when it comes to buying shoes. Ill-fitting shoes don’t offer the support your ankle needs. They can even change the way you walk, decrease performance during activity, and increase your chances of falling and twisting your ankle

Your shoes are old

Did you know that it only takes between a few months to a year for shoes to wear out? You might love that pair of trusty sneakers or those sandals that you think are still in style, but they’ve long outlived their prime and may be putting your ankles in danger. 

Your shoes are flat

Arch support is paramount when it comes to supporting not just your foot and ankle, but your legs, knees, and hips. If your shoes have a lower arch (or no arch at all), your ankle turns inward, throwing off the distribution of weight and causing ankle pain.

Your shoes aren’t right for the job

We always encourage our patients to match their shoes with their activity. You might be dealing with ankle pain if you go for a mile-long walk in flimsy sandals or spend long periods of time on your feet wearing high heels. Do your best to fill your closet with a variety of (supportive) shoes, and choose your footwear according to what you’re doing. 

You aren’t wearing shoes

It can be tempting to kick off your shoes at the end of the day and go barefoot, but sometimes, that can be the worst thing for your ankles. Standing and walking barefoot on hard surfaces can put an inordinate amount of stress on the structure in your feet and cause pain. 

We can help you pick a pair of supportive slippers or indoor sandals to wear around the house and give your ankles the support they need.

You’re not wearing your supports

Your shoes might be fine, but if you’ve been told to wear a brace or use orthotics, and you aren’t adhering to your support plan, your ankles could be paying the price. 

Treatment for your ankle pain

Often, you can deal with ankle pain symptoms conservatively by using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. We can also help you relieve your pain by guiding you through some simple footwear adjustments that will support your ankles and the rest of your body. 

If your ankle pain is chronic or doesn’t respond to conservative measures we have comprehensive treatments, including:

In the most severe cases of connective tissue damage and arthritis, we may recommend surgery. 

If you have more questions about how to resolve your ankle pain, or if you want guidance on footwear, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone today. We’re conveniently located in Mount Kisco, Carmel, Newburgh, and Fishkill, New York, and Danbury, Connecticut.

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