Why Do Basketball Shoes Hurt My Feet?

Basketball is one of the most popular sports to play around the world.

It involves dribbling balls, passing them through the hoop, jumping up high to catch it, spinning on the ball, etc.

These activities place great demands on your feet as they have to withstand constant pressure from walking, running, jumping, and landing.

This is especially true if you are playing basketball at an amateur level where there may be less regulation about shoe size and fit.

Your feet need to be comfortable while wearing basketball shoes so that you can perform well during practices and games.

However, this is not always possible because…

Basketball shoes generally hurt player’s feet due to various factors such as poor fitting, ill-fitted shoes, pre-existing injuries, and even tight lacing.

If you experience any form of discomfort or pain within a few days after buying new shoes, then it is advisable to consult with a podiatrist or a chiropodist immediately.

Reasons why your feet hurt when playing basketball

In this article, we will discuss some common causes of foot problems among basketball players who wear their shoes for long hours each day.

We hope that by reading this information, you would better understand how to avoid these issues in the future.

1. Pre-existing foot injury which is undiagnosed

why basketball shoes hurt your feet - pre existing foot injury

One of the major causes of foot pain is an untreated broken bone, sprain/strain, or other type of injury that has gone unnoticed for long.

The bones in our feet act like levers to help us stand upright.

When our ankles, legs, hips, knees, and spine are aligned properly, our feet function normally without much difficulty.

But when our joints become misaligned, the natural alignment of our feet becomes disrupted.

Our toes no longer work together with our fingers to push off the ground as they should do naturally.

Instead, the arch gets flattened or collapses inwardly.

As a result, the toes lose their normal mobility and cannot move forward correctly.

The problem usually starts with a minor injury but worsens over time until it develops into something chronic.

For example, many people think that sprained ankles heal within a week or two because the swelling goes down quickly.

Unfortunately, once the ankle joint becomes injured, it needs several months to completely heal before being able to bear weight again.

In fact, the healing process could take as long as six weeks or even more depending upon how severe the initial damage was.

If the ankle joint is severely damaged, it is likely that the ligaments surrounding it were also torn.

A sprained ankle does not just involve breaking the fibula (lower leg bone) and the tibia (upper leg bone).

Both bones must remain intact in order to maintain proper alignment of the entire lower leg.

Therefore, if either the fibula or the tibia is fractured, the ligament connecting both bones will probably be ripped apart.

Even if only one of those bones is broken, the ligament still needs time to repair itself.

So, if you suffer a fracture on top of another existing injury, your recovery period could get extended further.

Therefore, if you already have an underlying foot condition such as flatfoot, pes planus, fallen arches, hammertoes, etc., your chances of developing a serious foot issue are higher than someone whose feet are healthy.

Your doctor will examine your feet thoroughly in order to determine whether you have any underlying conditions that may worsen your current injury.

Only then he/she will know what treatment options are available for you.

2. Poor running motion which strains the feet

why basketball shoes hurt your feet - poor running motion

Another potential reason for foot pain is improper movement patterns.

There is a saying “use it or lose it.”

That means that every time you use your body and its muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, you increase the risk of getting injured.

Every sport requires certain types of movements to be performed efficiently.

Running is perhaps the most demanding activity in terms of foot motions.

Most runners run barefooted on hard surfaces and only put their feet inside special running shoes when they go outside.

Running barefooted on concrete pavement can lead to blisters, calluses, and other foot skin problems.

On the other hand, putting your feet inside narrow athletic shoes can cause increased stress on the joints of the foot and ankle.

Also, the shoes themselves can make things worse by restricting the natural range of motion of the toes.

So, if you want to keep your feet in good health, you should consider changing your running style to incorporate better cushioning and shock absorption features.

You can start by switching to softer surfaces such as dirt paths, grassy fields, trails and sidewalks.

To protect your feet against heat build-ups, try using air conditioning products.

And lastly, don’t forget to check out the latest developments in running shoes technology to find sneakers that provide maximum comfort and protection at an affordable price.

3. Shoe laces tied too tightly

why basketball shoes hurt your feet - tight laces

Tightening the shoelace too much beyond what is recommended can cause excessive strain on the Achilles tendon of your foot.

This happens mainly when your lace holes are located close to the heel area since the Achilles tendon is near the back of the ankle.

Tight lacing can also cause numbness and burning sensations while trying to walk.

So, remember to tie your shoes loosely enough to allow your feet to breathe freely.

Also, tying the laces tighter than necessary can cause foot cramps and soreness.

Try loosening the laces slightly whenever you feel uncomfortable.

Loosening the laces will also prevent them from slipping off your shoes unexpectedly while running.

This could cause tripping hazards and trip injuries.

4. Ill-fitting footwear that is too small or too big

why basketball shoes hurt your feet - ill fitting footwear

Athletes who participate in contact sports such as football, soccer, field hockey, rugby, ice skating, kickboxing, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, lacrosse, and baseball should choose wide shoes instead of regular ones.

Wider shoes offer extra room between the toe box and the floor surface.

They also give sufficient space for thicker soles to absorb impact energy effectively.

Wide shoes are also ideal for athletes who are taller, heavier, or larger-sized compared to average individuals.

On the other hand, basketball players who are smaller-sized should opt for narrower shoes.

Narrower shoes are designed to offer minimal toe clearance so that the player can easily see the court markings.

Basketball shoes come in different sizes called widths.

Widths vary based on the length of the foot and the distance between the longest toes.

Generally, the wider the width, the larger the size.

So, the best thing to do is to buy shoes according to your foot measurements in addition to your shoe size.

Shoes that are too large can rub and irritate sensitive areas of your feet such as heels, corns, bunions, calluses, ingrown nails, hammertoe, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Shoes that are too small can rub the bottom part of the foot causing blisters, sores, and inflammation.

Also, narrow shoes can restrict blood circulation and nerve endings leading to painful stubbed toes.

For optimal performance, choose shoes that are neither too big nor too small.

If you are unsure which size to select, ask your local retailer to measure your feet first.

Then, decide on the appropriate size that fits comfortably.

Although most foot pain occurs due to improper fitting and usage of wrong shoes, it is important to note that sometimes extreme physical activities such as doing heavy squats, sprinting, jumping jacks, etc., can aggravate pre-existing foot conditions.

Athletes who regularly engage in strenuous exercise routines should visit their doctors frequently to monitor their progress and treat any injuries accordingly.

How you can make your basketball shoes more comfortable to wear

Don’t forget to break in your shoes gradually over a couple of weeks.

Here’s a step-by-step process that you can follow to achieve this:

  • Get yourself a thick pair of socks to wear over your feet and ankles, as they help stretch out the shoes. These could be high-top socks specifically for basketball or even off-brand ones from your local retail store
  • Ensure that the shoe fits properly – i.e. a snug fit that is not too tight nor too lose
  • Wear them for 30 minutes per day initially, followed by increasing the amount of time you wear them by 5 to 10 minutes every two to three days.
  • Don’t play full-on games when you wear them the first couple of times, as they’ll still be too stiff for intensely physical basketball games
  • After a week or so, you can begin participating in full game practice sessions.

If the bullet points listed above are too difficult to make sense of, then you can try breaking your new basketball shoes in by following the process outlined in the video below:

Wrap up

We hope that this article on why basketball shoes hurt your feet helps to minimize the likelihood of foot pain and provides you with useful tips for choosing the right pair of basketball shoes.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this piece, then also check out our posts on why basketball has the most injuries and whether basketball makes you stronger as a person.

About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel is an avid fan of basketball and has been following the sport for over 10 years. He now intends to dedicate his time to produce great content for his own little basketball blog that aims to help its readership with whatever basketball-related topic they can think of. Have a read through Samuel Waihenya's author bio page here.