Laynce Nix of the Philadelphia Phillies did some investigating and has concluded that baseball cleats were the root cause of leg injuries plaguing him the past two seasons. He slugged a composite .461 from 2009-2011, but in '11 Nix started having Achilles tendon problems and, in 2012 with the Phillies, he suffered calf injuries. His production plummeted.
Money, it's gotta be the shoes!
It's certainly not unheard of for someone to blame improper footwear for discomfort felt elsewhere in the body. You've probably heard a doctor, or at least a shoe salesperson, proffer such a theory. This is Nix's story, as told by reporter Dennis Deitch of the Delco Times:
“To be short and direct,” Nix said Wednesday, “the shoes that I was wearing didn’t flex where my toes flex, and it caused tension in the Achilles’ (tendon) and calves. That built up for a couple of years in my Achilles and calves.”
Although Nix had a few disabled-list stints over the years — a strained abdomen, a turned ankle, a shoulder that required surgery — he hadn’t been one to have leg problems until the last two seasons. He said his Achilles’ tendon gave him issues while in Washington, then he had the calf problems last year in Philly. Nix said a conversation with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino — both wearers of Nike products, and both of whom have had calf issues in the past — led him to suspect his cleats were the problem.
Nix went on to say that Mark Teixeira of the Yankees and Albert Pujols of the Angels had similar leg problems wearing the same kind of shoes. And while Victorino and Rollins simply changed Nikes, Nix says he is "shopping around" among Mizuno, New Balance and Adidas. Good ol' trial and error. Hey, this story suddenly sounds familiar:
My question: Once that Nix realized his cleats didn't flex in the toes, why didn't he change them then? I'm not saying he should have seen the future, that his legs would be paying a price for his shoes being insolent, but not having flexible toes would seem to be a discomfort.
As Nix well knows, having been in the majors since 2003, the women from "Sex in the City" have nothing over baseball players when it comes to shoe selection. Ballplayers have choices beyond the dreams of avarice.
Moral of the story: If your legs or back are killing you, and you suspect it's your shoes, speak up! Maybe you just need a new pair. Of shoes.
- Laynce Nix