Do the Footwear Profiles and Foot-Related Problems Reported by Netball Players Differ Between Males and Females?
Sports Medicine - Open
Introduction: We explored the footwear profiles and foot-related problems reported by netball players and whether these differed between males and females. Methods: Two thousand nine hundred and twenty-five amateur, sub-elite and elite netball players (men n = 279; women n = 2646; age 26.4 ± 10.0 years) completed a custom-designed online survey with questions related to netball experience, current netball footwear habits and history of foot-related problems. Footwear profiles and foot-related problems were considered in logistic regressions against sex and competition level to ascertain significant relationships (p < 0.05) and predictive values (odds ratio). Results: Although 80.4% of respondents reported wearing netball-specific shoes, females were 13.2 times more likely to wear netball-specific shoes than males. Foot-related problems and foot pain were reported by 84.3% and 56.8% of netball players, respectively; with blisters, ankle sprain/strains and calluses being most common. Although women were significantly more likely to suffer from foot-related problems than men, males were significantly more likely to believe their foot pain was caused by the footwear they wore for netball. Conclusion: The high prevalence of foot-related problems and pain reported by all netball players suggests that the shoes players are currently wearing for netball are not meeting the requirements of players, particularly regarding fit, comfort and functionality. As male netball players have significantly different footwear profiles to female players, men are likely to require netball-specific footwear that differs to the netball-specific shoes designed for female players.
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