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Best Shoes For a Sprained Ankle—and What to Avoid

Shoes can worsen or improve a sprained ankle. Learn which types of shoes you should wear to support a sprained ankle and which to avoid wearing for recovery.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Kirsty Macdougall - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Kirsty Macdougall

Updated March 15, 2023.

Ankle pain is a common problem in many people, especially athletes. It is often a symptom of an underlying disease or condition, including sprains. However, it can also be a consequence of wearing the wrong shoes.

Which Shoes Should You Wear With a Sprained Ankle?

Shoes can cause or worsen ankle pain, but they can also improve ankle pain and ankle sprains.

Interestingly, changing into supportive shoes as soon as possible speeds up recovery after an ankle sprain.

They do this by influencing the biomechanical alignment of the foot, providing support and cushioning, and aiding efficient energy transfer during motion.

Shoes with sturdy soles and cushioning are best after sprains.

Which Types of Shoes Should You Avoid Wearing?

With any type of sprained ankle, you should avoid wearing the following:

  • Ill-fitting shoes Shoes that are too tight or too wide will aggravate ankle problems.
  • Shoes without adequate heel support Without adequate support, you will strain the muscles in your foot, which leads to further pain and discomfort.
  • Uneven shoes due to wear and tear This can dislodge the alignment of the feet and cause pain.
  • The wrong shoes for activities While it may seem obvious, wearing running shoes for long hours at work or wearing work boots to race will worsen the symptoms of a sprained ankle.
  • High heels Wearing high heels should be avoided altogether until your ankle has fully healed.

What Else Can Be Done to Heal a Sprained Ankle?

We also recommend performing specific exercises to heal sprained ankles, doing regular ankle strengthening exercises, and using ankle support. You can also garner further relief through the use of insoles, but it is important to note that they should not be relied upon as the sole treatment for a sprain.

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