Given the wide range of running shoes on the market, you may wonder whether you need to buy the most current or expensive pair of shoes. A shoe is only as good as the protection it offers the runner. Because the plantar fascia, a thick connective tissue running along the sole of the foot, carries up to 14% of the total load of the foot, it seems sensible that running shoes should cushion the foot and protect the runner from injuries that affect knees, hips and the back. This is especially important because once injured, they can be difficult to rehabilitate.
However, a 2013 study from the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory in Luxembourg found no difference in injuries between runners who wore cushioned shoes and those who wore hard shoes. And a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no evidence that wearing cushioned shoes makes a runner less prone to injury. Early running champions ran in canvas shoes, their only shock absorption coming from the compression of their legs and the thick pad of midfoot fat. In fact, Arthur Lydiard, the most influential distance-running coach of all time, advocates wearing shoes that let your foot function like they’re barefoot. For the general population I still recommend a cushioned shoe, but realize the possible benefits of allowing the foot to closely contact the ground. If you are in the market for a new pair of running shoes, here are some suggestions:
• Visit a specialty running shoe store. Sam McKinnon, a Clinical Pedorthotist from Active Footwear Center in Ridgewood, NJ is a great local resource.
• Have your feet measured for size every time you buy a new pair. Believe it or not, the foot can change in size and/or width over time.
• Try the shoes on. The shoe should feel snug but not tight. Because feet swell and lengthen during a run, make sure there is a thumb’s width between your toe and the end of the shoe.
• Buy your shoes in the evening; your feet reach their greatest size by about 4 p.m.
• Avoid buying a shoe for looks or purchasing shoes that are too small.
• When you are ready to pay, ask if there are any discounts available for running club members.
At Apex, we can assess your foot and devise a progressive running program based on your age and level of fitness. We can create a “map” of your foot and determine the proper amount of cushion needed to support you consistently while you add up the miles.
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Paramus, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.
A recent article highlighted in the New York Times in the February 8th 2012 edition discussed a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise . It looked at the incidence of injuries among runners who favor heel striking compared to forefoot striking. Apparently they indicated a two fold increase in heel strikers rates of injury when examining a group of runners from Harvard. Another researcher Dr Nicholas Romanov has developed the Pose method of running and has studied word class runners and noted only 15% adopted a heel strike pattern of motion. He surmised this was based on a greater efficiency and in turn less chance of injury.
My Main Points on Running Form and Training:
- If you are attempting to change your current form do it gradually
- DO NOT adopt forefoot running and barefoot running at the same time
- Avoid treadmills for routine running because it is different in stride rate and foot strike pattern
- Injury prevention is a goal for any patient but adopting a a forefoot strike style of running in the absence of a consistent pattern is probably not worth it- if your running style is working for you leave it alone!
If you are suffering from a series of chronic musculoskeletal injuries you may benefit from a injury screen from a orthopedic or sports physical therapist to rule out the influence of range of motion and strength deficits. I hope this helps all my runners from Paramus, Ridgewood and the surrounding Bergen County area. Keep running!
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Paramus, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your physician or physical therapist before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative regimen.
Follow this video for easy tips on picking a good athletic shoe..
When buying an athletic shoe and comparing different ones it is always good to do the three point test that I described in the video.
(1) Make sure the shoe bends at the ball of your foot not the middle of where your arch is located.
(2) Careful that you can’t twist the shoe like you are “wringing out a towel”
(3) Lastly, pinch the heel of the shoe at the point where the sole ends and the fabric begins.
Another thing to always do is get your foot measured. Especially as we age changes in our forefoot cause increased need for space in the front of the shoe. If you wear orthotics, heel lifts or any type of insert, you may use in the shoe. Make sure you bring them in to check the fit. If you are located in the Paramus/Ridgewood, NJ area we recommend New Balance of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ and The Ridgewood Running Company in Ridgewood, NJ. Both places typically take a little extra time to ensure the best fit for their clients.