How to Protect Your Feet and Ankles While You Play

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Choose sport-specific shoes

One thing that’s mentioned often in sports medicine is the importance of wearing good footwear. While it’s certainly true that you don’t want to wear old or worn-out shoes to play sports, the specifics of your shoes also matter.

If you play basketball, for example, wear shoes that are specifically designed for basketball. Basketball shoes often have high tops to protect your ankles and heavier soles to cushion your feet. Whenever possible, wear shoes that are made specifically for the sports you engage in.

Practice good foot hygiene

You might not worry about it if you forget to change out the socks in your gym bag between practices, but you should. Make sure to wear moisture-wicking socks when you play sports, wash them after every time you wear them, and make sure to replace worn-out ones. This can help keep your feet dry and also help keep them from getting blisters.

And, if you swim or walk in damp places, such as locker rooms, wear something to protect your feet. This can help keep you from contracting athlete’s foot. Furthermore, if your shoes get damp after playing sports, make sure they’re completely dry before wearing them again. This may require that you get more than one pair of shoes.

Replace your shoes regularly

Sports shoes can be expensive, and you might be inclined to try to get as much life out of them as possible. While you don’t have to throw out your shoes on a frequent basis, they do need to be replaced eventually.

There are signs you can look for to know when to replace your shoes. For example, if the soles of your shoes are worn or have cracks, if they don’t cushion your feet well, or if the material is tearing, it’s time to get new shoes.

Start slowly when playing a new sport

It’s understandable to feel a lot of excitement about playing a new sport. However, no matter how much you may love your new sport, it’s still important to start slowly. This can help reduce your risk of getting injured.

Playing a new sport intensely from the start can put your body at greater risk of getting injured, because your body needs time to get used to the sport and build up muscles for it.


Cross-training is a great way to build strength and agility in your feet, ankles, and other parts of your body. If you enjoy high-impact sports, such as running or basketball, try taking part in lower-impact activities, too, such as swimming, biking, or strength training. Taking part in a variety of sports will help improve your fitness and reduce your risk for getting injured.

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