Shoes wear down after about 300 hours of aerobic activity. Additionally, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, the wrong kinds of shoes for your specific sport and improperly fitted shoes can cause ankle and foot problems. If you already have problems, you should look for adjustments and modifications to accommodate your condition.
A number of modifications are available in shoe stores and don't require a doctor's prescription. Many ankle problems originate in the foot, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Cushioned inserts, arch supports and stiff heel cups can soften the blows that affect your ankle with each step you take. Most shoe inserts slide right into your shoe for ankle and foot relief.
Many ankle problems result from foot problems such as flat feet, high arches, hammertoes and bunions. Stretching your workout shoes to accommodate your foot problems also can alleviate excess strain on your ankles, according to the Foot and Ankle Center of Washington. Replace the laces on your most comfortable workout shoes with Velcro closures so that you can achieve a tighter, more stable fit that is not likely to loosen while you're working out like laces do.
When your ankle problems are chronic and not relieved with over-the-counter shoe inserts, you may need to see a doctor to evaluate the cause of your pain. You can get a prescription that you then take to a pedorthist or orthotist, foot and ankle professionals trained in modifying prescription orthotics prescribed by your doctor.
The most important function to look for in a shoe if you have ankle problems is a proper fit. Your foot should not slide around in the shoe and the shoes should provide adequate support so that you don't place undue pressure on your sore ankles, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Look for shoes that provide ankle support, such as high-tops used for basketball. Wrapping the ankle prior to putting on your shoes can help to support the troubled ankle. Stretch bandages, air-cast supports and lace-up ankle supports are effective inserts that fit under high-tops.
While you may find an effective workout shoe that alleviates pain while you exercise, the kinds of shoes you wear when not working out also may affect the health and stability of your ankle. Wearing high heels, flip flops, sandals and open-backed shoes such as mules can affect your gait and increase ankle problems. While shopping for appropriate workout shoes, make sure you also find shoes to support your ankles at all times so that you can continue to participate in your favorite physical activity pain-free.