Be sweet to your feet: how to choose the right athletic shoe

Feet bear the brunt of the body's weight and shoes on those feet can make a big difference in comfort. The problem is shoe stores feature so many options that it can be confusing and buying the wrong athletic shoe could cause injury.

"Certain types of shoes can cause things like that and certain types of shoes can help them," said Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist at the Center for Orthopedics.

He said many people often buy the best looking shoes over the most functional.

"You're strictly buying it based on looks...You've got to look at it as a medical purchase," explained Dr. Green.

Specialty running store Tri-Running in Lake Charles puts shoppers through tests like squats and knee bends to find what shoe will work best.

"Sometimes we have like 120 lb woman walk in who's training for her first marathon and sometimes we have Ma-Ma who just had bunion surgery," said Aaron Lasher, Tri-Running employee.

Dr. Green said no matter your fitness level, "I usually recommend a running shoe because it breathes easy and its built better"

He added the cushion inside the shoe is paramount to the comfort and functionality.

"If the foam cushion is going to give under your fingertips then that's definitely going to give under your body weight," said Dr. Green.

A neutral foot, the most common type, has a medium height arch and needs only minimal support, while a person with flat feet will need extra arch support. Dr. Green recommends sole inserts to supplement the cushion the shoe already has inside.

The there is the new trend: barefoot technology. The shoes that hug the contours of feet and surround individual toes, but Dr. Green said these shoes lack traditional support.

"I can tell you I've seen more stress fractures and more problems since the barefoot technology has come out," said Dr. Green.

He thinks many barefoot users are not slowly adjusting to the shoe, and consequently hurting themselves.

For more on how to choose the right shoe, Dr. Green is hosting a seminar with the owner of Tri-Running Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at the Center for Orthopedics. The event starts at 5:30pm. Call (337) 721-2903 to register.

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