Prescription for performance: Four keys to athletic shoe fit
For professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, having the right shoe and the correct fit can mean the difference between participating and sitting on the sideline. While most podiatrists now fit shoes in their offices, too few are actually experts in this critical aspect of foot care – particularly with respect to the special needs of athletes. Proper shoe selection for active individuals, however, holds great potential for both injury prevention – and for practice expansion.
When podiatrists fit patients with athletic shoes themselves, it fills a void in areas lacking a shoe store with a large inventory and naturally offers greater profitability. Other podiatrists prefer to refer patients to athletic shoe stores. Such an approach typically offers patients a better selection and allows them to try shoes on in a relaxed, comfortable setting. Either way, the podiatrist ultimately needs to assess the functional biomechanics of the lower extremity, identifying its structural requirements and creating a plan to achieve the therapeutic objectives.
Whether podiatrists elect to fit patients in the office or to refer them to a store, they need to consider four simple, yet key considerations to achieve the best clinical outcomes: size, shape, stability and style.