By Dr. Shabana Chowdhury, DPM, AACFAS
June 21, 2018
Category: Sports Injuries

With the World Cup in full effect, fans of soccer fans are more encouraged to not just watch the sport but also play. But before you run to the nearest sporting goods store be aware that not all shoes are made equally. Cleats can be worn while playing baseball, football, lacrosse, and soccer. However, each of these sports requires a different type of cleat that is designed for the game surface and the types of movement required of the players.

Cleats have metal projections on the soles to allow traction on the playing field to allow the athlete to perform. If they are fitted properly they provide excellent support and control. However, many athletes develop foot pain from cleats due to ill-fitting shoes. Always make sure you know the sizing of the sport specific shoe prior to purchasing. For example, soccer cleats are sized like regular shoes but may be narrower at the top of the shoe. Leather cleats will stretch more after wear so they should be snug when tried on initially. Do not purchase and attempt to wear cleats that feel too small or cramp any part of the foot.

As mentioned before, cleats allow for better grip to the ground, thus enhancing the athlete’s performance.  However, this increased traction also causes a higher chance of getting an ankle sprain. A sprain occurs when the soft tissue structures around the ankle are abnormally stretched.  Torn ligaments may also occur from pivoting or having a foot caught while trying to move in another direction quickly. Shoes without padding or cleats that don’t fit properly may also cause plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can cause arch pain and also a burning sensation in the heel. A podiatrist will be able to help decrease this pain with a low profile custom orthotic that can be worn inside of cleats. Tight cleats may also cause blisters on the back of heels due to rubbing on the skin.

So before you start playing, be sure to have your cleats broken in prior to wearing in a competitive environment. If you have any pre-existing foot and ankle conditions, speak to a podiatrist before wearing cleats.

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