Basketball players are often sold on the idea of getting sleek sneakers with lots of cushion and support for maximum performance. However, just like your typical casual shoes, basketball footwear isn’t setting up players for success. On the contrary, it can make them more prone to a sprained ankle or Jones fracture.
All basketball sneakers on the market have a tapered toe box with an elevated heel. As previously mentioned, we have been programmed to think this is good. However, when breaking down the physical effects of these characteristics, they create an unstable and injury-prone ankle. When your toes are able to naturally splay, they create a wider base of support. Having proper toe splay can displace the force from running or jumping across the entire foot and not put an extra load on certain parts of the body. When you combine a tapering toe box with heel elevation, it puts proper alignment in jeopardy.
The more cushion or heel elevation on a basketball sneaker, the more your shin bones are forced to sit improperly on the ankle bone. As we try to compensate for alignment, we are more susceptible to ankle sprains. The longer you grow accustomed to conventional shoes, the more your feet lose proprioception/awareness of the ground and have difficulty landing safely. Strong foot proprioception helps feet quickly adjust to outside influences. If you were about to come down on the side of your foot, it would recognize the danger and encourage your ankle to roll safely back the bottom of the foot instead of continuing to roll to the side. These factors add up and significantly increase the chances for sprained ankles, broken bones and hours of rehab.
So what should you do? We’re not asking you to put up your sneakers and never dribble a ball again. We just want you to be aware of the risks and understand how conventional footwear can hurt you. Unfortunately, we have not found any healthy sneakers that are better suited for basketball, but shoes such as the Topo Halsa and the Vivobarefoot Motus claim to be good for agile and lateral movement and may be a good substitute. Until the perfect solution is found, you can begin combating the effects of your bad footwear. Like most things, if you do it in small doses, it shouldn’t have severe repercussions. Once you’re done playing a game of ball, get yourself into healthy footwear and Correct Toes. This begins the process of readjusting your feet to their natural shape and builds foot strength. Correct Toes can also be used to increase blood flow in the feet, which improves healing time. If you consistently try to fortify your feet and take care of them, they will be able to better handle varying levels of impact.
Your feet do a lot of work, so be conscious of what you put them through! Have any questions or concerns? Reach out to us through email or tag us using the hashtag #CTbasketball.