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Footwear and Orthotics can Prevent Sports Injuries  

Each year more than 1.2 million Canadians are sidelined from their favourite sports activity due to a sports-related injury that could have been prevented through proper fitting footwear and shoe selection, according to the Pedorthic Association of Canada.

“Too many athletes forget that their footwear is a key piece of their sports equipment.Whether the person is a recreational athlete or a professional one, if the footwear is inappropriate for the sport or the person’s foot type then they are putting themselves at risk of injury to the soft tissue, bones or joints of the lower limb. Appropriate shoe selection and proper fitting footwear is vital to preventing many of today’s sports-related injuries,” said Jonathan Robinson, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada.

The demographic at the highest risk for sports-related injuries is to those known as the ‘weekend warrior.’ “This is the athlete who plays basketball once a week or tennis on weekends. Typically these athletes are middle age, seeking exercise for social or health reasons, but who may not have time to train properly for their activity due to the demands of a full time job and/or family. Nor do they invest in the necessary activity-specific footwear and opt instead to have one pair of running shoes to serve for all sports activities, not realizing that this puts them at a greater risk for injury.”

To prevent and alleviate any pain caused by sports-related injuries, The Pedorthic Association of Canada recommends: Consulting a local Canadian Certified Pedorthist for a biomechanical exam to ensure the right type of footwear for any sports-activity and to help guarantee proper fitting and correct support for foot type. · Slowly and carefully increase activity while allowing the tissues of the lower limb time to properly adapt to the new activity levels · When injury occurs and biomechanical faults are found, custom orthoses and appropriate footwear choices can help the healing process and stop the recurrence of problems. · Selecting a stable shoe with a sturdy heel counter (the back of a shoe that controls motion) and stable midsoles that still provide shock absorption are needed · Over-the-counter devices often help prevent simple cases of over pronation and can assist with healing · If a foot injury occurs, rest, use ice and seek help from your physician. · If a condition persists it can help to visit complimentary health professionals, such as a physiotherapist or massage therapist, who specializes in sports medicine. · Physiotherapists can also assist in providing detailed information on pre-event warmup and stretching that will also help prevent any sports-related injuries.

By following the above-mentioned recommendations, Canadians will be able to play it safe and better enjoy their favourite sports activities while decreasing the risk of sustaining a sports-related injury.

1 Health Canada, Injury Prevention Study 2004