Saving Lace: Proper Lacing can Prevent Foot, Ankle Ailments

Colorado is a runner’s paradise, and a great running experience begins with a pair of comfortable, well-fitting shoes.

shoe laces photo
Running shoes that are properly laced can prevent discomfort and improve performance.

Good shoes that fit properly not only improve performance, they help prevent injuries to the ankles and feet as well. Once you settle on the right pair of shoes for your needs, don’t overlook the importance of how they’re laced.

Lacing Matters

A recent Washington Post article discusses the role of optimal lacing in how running shoes fit and perform. Laces should keep a shoe snug around the foot, but allow enough flexibility for the joints, tendons and muscles to work.

Good lacing provides stability for the feet and limits excess movement of the shoes around the feet. Laces that apply even pressure—but aren’t too tight—promote balanced alignment of the feet and optimal motion.

There is no single “right way” to lace shoes. The trick is to look at some different techniques and find what works and feels best for you.

Lacing Methods

The Washington Post report demonstrates some different lacing styles based on common variations in the human foot. For example, skipping an eyelet or two (a method called “gap lacing”) can prove beneficial for those with high arches or wide feet.

Those who experience heel slippage or heel blisters while running may want to try loop-lock lacing. This method, which is detailed in a Popular Mechanics post, makes use of those top lace holes that many people ignore.

A number of alternative shoe-lacing techniques are outlined in a Runner’s World article, which suggests lacing methods based on specific problems. Incidentally, these lacing tips don’t just apply to runners; optimal lacing benefits your comfort and the health of your ankles and feet regardless of the type of shoes.

Lacing, Pain and Injuries

Proper lacing helps prevent injuries and discomfort. Laces that are too loose or not evenly taut allow the feet to slide from side to side, or front to back.

The immediate effects of this are often lingering pain and blisters. Shoes that are consistently poorly laced can contribute to tendinitis, chronic heel or ankle pain, calluses, and other ailments.

If you experience recurring foot or ankle pain, numbness in the feet, or skin issues that don’t resolve within a week or so, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist to rule out serious problems.

The podiatrists at the Foot & Ankle Center of Colorado understand the biomechanics of your feet and ankles, and how they impact your whole body. If you suffer from foot or ankle pain, please call our Greeley office at 970-351-0900 or our Longmont office at 303-772-3232 to schedule your appointment.

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