Expert warns amateur footballers to avoid lightweight boots

One of the UK’s top sports injury experts says amateur footballers who splash out on flash lightweight boots like their sporting heroes could be asking for trouble.

Professor David Barrett, a knee and sports injury specialist at Southampton General Hospital, warned the new flashy footwear trend could spell metatarsal fractures for amateur players.

He believes the craze for lightweight boots – favoured by professional footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Theo Walcott – is partly to blame for a rise in broken bones among amateurs in recent years.

“Orthopaedic surgeons are seeing a lot more metatarsal injuries in patients of the kind David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have suffered in the past – and that is because of lightweight boots,” he said.

“The introduction of this kind of footwear came about because professional footballers, particularly strikers, wanted boots as lightweight as possible for foot speed. This means when they kick through, the lighter the foot is, the easier it is for them to move it.

“The result is the players have got no protection at all – put simply, lightweight footwear equals metatarsal fractures.”

Prof Barrett said while professional footballers could take time off to receive swift specialist treatment, amateurs often found themselves on a longer road to recovery.

“Local players should avoid lightweight boots because it is not worth putting aesthetics before protection,” added Prof Barrett, an internationally recognised orthopaedic surgeon and a senior lecturer at the University of Southampton.

”Usually, they are working men and having to deal with a broken foot is the last thing they need in life.

“We don’t all drive Ferraris; we drive cars we know will start in the morning, get us to work and be cheaper to run. That is what you want in a football boot, something that is going to give you protection so that you can go to work the next day rather than have to have four weeks off with a fractured foot.”

Specialists at Southampton General Hospital have also reported increasing problems with sportsmen and women buying the wrong type and size footwear.

“The most important thing about buying the right footwear for activities like football is to ensure boots are well fitted by a professional,” said physiotherapist Georgina Hawes.

“There are good footwear shops around with podiatrists that work within the shops who will watch you walk, watch you run, whatever your sport is, and then look at your foot position, your foot type and give you advice.”

Posted on Thursday 27 May 2010