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Choosing the Right Shoes for Pickleball to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis and Play at Your Best

plantar fasciitis shoe inserts pickleball

Don’t let plantar fasciitis ruin your pickleball game!

Hey everybody, this is your pickleball specialists here at Bodyworx Physical Therapy & Concussion Center, and we want to tackle an issue that we run into a lot. That is: What shoes should I wear when playing pickleball? Now, we see a lot of pickleball players here in Wichita, and we even see pickleball players who travel to see us from other states; we also treat a lot of people with plantar fasciitis and other foot and ankle pains. So this is something that has come up a lot. One thing that commonly happens when people start playing for the first time is that they default to wearing the shoes they have on or around the house. This can be an issue because people may be wearing their running shoes or lifting shoes when they play versus a shoe designed for pickleball. We want to introduce the idea of finding the best type of shoe for you to feel confident in and prevent injury  such as plantar fascitis, when playing pickleball. Watch this video first before reading on to learn more about why shoe wear can make it or break it for your pickleball game:

Do the right shoes really matter when playing pickleball?

Here’s the deal. Running shoes are made to move in what we call the sagittal plane, meaning forward, straight ahead. They do not have a lot of side-to-side stability. They are just not designed to do that, and although some have supportive features on the inside and/or outside of the shoe, they lack the more aggressive support needed. Think of your favorite running shoe used for activity or exercise: Brooks, ADIDAS, ASICS, HOKA, Nike, and Saucony to name a few. While these shoes are excellent for activities like running, walking, and lifting they fall short when it comes to activities like pickleball that require this aggressive side-to-side movement.

Are court shoes really necessary for pickleball?

When it comes to court shoes, the big difference is they are made to have a lot of lateral stability. A typical court shoe will consist of heavy stabilizer bars or other form of technology on each side of the shoe. These stabilizers make it difficult for the shoe to twist and move laterally and side-to-side; they are very stable and tough. Compare this to a more traditional workout shoe that is easily bendable and twistable with a lot of axes of movement.

One of the things that we want to avoid with the lateral/side-to-side sports like tennis, pickleball, and so forth is we do not want to sprain an ankle, right? These court shoes help prevent that by giving us a lot of grip on the court and a lot of stability. One of the things you do need to be mindful about when you are purchasing your court shoes is you want to make sure that they are going to fit your foot well.

What if I have bunions? Will they affect what shoes I choose to play pickleball in?

One thing about court shoes that you need to be aware of is many of them have an aggressive curved last, meaning the outside of the shoe may drastically curve in. For anyone with a bunion or bunionette, this last may cause some irritation to the protruding bump on one or both sides of the foot. It is important to ensure your court shoe considers these features and that it fits comfortably, without causing increased irritation of these structures that may exist.

The other thing that is common of court shoes is usually they may not have adequate support for your ankle and arch with the factory inserts that they come with. This is especially important to consider for anyone who may be suffering from plantar fasciitis or another condition that requires use of an orthotic or shoe insert in their shoe. Consider the additional space that these orthotics may require when purchasing a pair of court shoes.

What if I need more help choosing the right shoe for pickleball?

If you find yourself slightly overwhelmed with finding the right court shoe for you or you may be struggling with injuries such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, bunions or bunionettes, and you just want to play pickleball, fear not! We here at Bodyworx Physical Therapy and Concussion Center specialize in helping people not only find the best shoes for them, but also in treating any condition of your foot and ankle that is keeping you from getting back to playing pickleball or any other activity you enjoy!

  • If you would like to read how others have recovered from foot and ankle pain using our unique treatment methods, see what others have said about us here.
  • If you would like more information on choosing the best shoes for you or foot and ankle pain and what to do to help it, feel free to browse our YouTube video selection here.
  • If you would like tips on how to help your current back pain symptoms, feel free to download our free eBook here titled 9 Ways to End Back Pain Without Taking Pain Pills
  • If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out to us at 316-558-8808. We still like to talk to people on the phone!

And as always, we like to keep people in Wichita and all around the country mobile, active, and off pain pills, so if you need any help, please feel free to Contact us.

Yours in health,

The Bodyworx Physical Therapy and Concussion Center Team

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