While getting in shape and using cross training as a means to do that is a great goal, it can be quite challenging for those who have knee or ankle problems. The wrong shoe can not only feel uncomfortable, it can severely exacerbate any knee or ankle issue. When choosing a shoe that will allow for untroubled use, it is important to consider the specific problem and find the shoe that addresses it. Here are some common knee and ankle issues and the shoes that should help:
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury that usually goes away after 2-6 weeks of rest and treatment. However, when it becomes chronic, it is likely a sign that improper footwear is being worn. A motion control shoe should help with the pain associated with this condition, and it should be a shoe that is neither super cushy nor super firm.
A shoe with too much cushioning will cause the heel to sink down lower than the toe and put even more stress on the Achilles tendon. A shoe that is too firm will also overuse the tendon. For a shoe that has the proper balance of motion control and suitable cushioning, consider the GT 02 Cross Trainer from UK Gear.
The GT 02 is a highly supportive, extremely stable shoe that should reduce some of the strain put on the Achilles tendon. It is well suited for a wide variety of training, including running, tennis, soccer, and more. With stretching before exercise, these should help minimize discomfort.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The bane of athletes everywhere, this condition results in knee pain due to tightness of the iliotibial band. Athletes who tend to wear the outsides of their shoes seem to be more prone to this condition, but anybody can get it. In addition to proper treatment, getting a shoe that puts less stress on the iliotibial band and induces the band to stay stretched is critical.
The Saucony Grid Cohesion 4 is an excellent cross trainer that will assist in keeping the leg properly aligned during workouts. This will help ensure that the iliotibial band does not bear too much of the brunt in exercising. It also assists in correcting outward pronation, which is sometimes called supination, to make for a more comfortable workout.
Ankle or Knee Arthritis
There is no cure for arthritis, but finding a good cross trainer can significantly decrease the pain experienced during workouts. As most physical therapists will advise, “movement is the best medicine.” Careful cross training can benefit arthritic knees and ankles by prompting the body to produce joint fluids that keep the joints properly lubricated.
While cross trainers are ideal shoes for arthritis sufferers, the New Balance 856 Motion Control Cross Trainer is perhaps the best in class. Roomy in the toe box and narrow at the heel, the 856 provides maximum support to decrease wear on achy joints.
Working out can damage cartilage, especially in the knees. For those looking for a shoe that will take some of the impact off that torn or damaged cartilage, a shoe with good heel padding is essential. Proper heel padding will help stave off some of that damage that knee cartilage takes with the pounding of a hard workout.
A great shoe to help with this condition is the Asics Gel Synthesis. It is comfortable and provides superior cushioning in the heel and throughout the shoe. The gel compound that Asics uses both lessens and distributes the shock of impact throughout the shoe, allowing for the shoe to take the brunt of the force instead of the feet and knees.
These shoes are also very breathable, keeping the feet as cool as possible during training. They are also lightweight but sturdy enough to handle the rigors of cross training. Asics has long been known for shoes with great cushioning, and the Synthesis makes workouts that would ordinarily be painful a breeze.
General considerations to keep in mind for any cross trainer include making sure the shoes are about 1/2 size bigger than general purpose shoes. This is because with exercise the feet tend to swell, causing a shoe that fits snugly to become uncomfortable when used for exercising.
It is also important to break in any athletic shoe before prolonged usage. New shoes need to be stretched a bit, and going through an intense workout in brand new shoes will undoubtedly cause pain.