Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Why running shoes matter: The wrong kind can hurt you

The wrong pair of shoes can make running miserable.

It can cause hip and knee pain, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and a host of other maladies, said Laura Ramus, manager of the DMC Sports Performance Academy.

"There are three different kinds of feet in the world. There are the biomechanically normal feet, which has a normal arch. It will pronate (roll inward), because that's part of walking, and running, and it will supinate (roll outward), because that's also part of walking and running what we call a normal amount. It allows you to walk and run with normal biomechanics," said Ramus, who is both a physical therapist and certified athletic trainer.

"If you are a runner and you have a normal foot that pronates and supinates, you're going to do fairly well in a lot of different shoes. You probably won't have an injury."

But people with high arches or flat feet have a tendency to pronate too much or supinate too much, she said. If they wear shoes made for people with a normal foot type, or a foot type with the opposite problem, it can cause pain and injury.

"Then that person can end up with plantar fasciitis, knee pain, Achilles problems, hip problems, all the way up the chain," said Ramus. "You have to match your foot type to the shoe."Learning what type of shoe is best for your foot isn't likely to be discovered by visiting your local sporting goods store or by clicking on a great-looking pair online. Figuring it out through trial and error can be costly and painful.

I made the mistake of picking up a pair of Asics on sale at JCPenney. They were just $49, and looked similar to the running shoes I already had.

Why not? I thought.

The first time I wore them, the four outer toes on my left foot went numb.

It turned out, the toe box wasn't wide enough for my feet. That was $49 down the drain.

In my quest to find good shoes to train for the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon Relay, my next stop was a running store near my home. The salesman looked at my feet and decreed a wide-width shoe was the answer. Another $120 later, I was off with a pair of Brooks Adrenalines, a motion-control stability shoe ideal for people who over-pronate.

I wore them a few times, and had nothing but trouble with pain in my knees, shins and arches of my feet. Although the shoes got rave reviews from others online, they clearly weren't right for me.

Finally, I ended up at RunDetroit, near Wayne State University. There, I had a foot and running-form analysis. I learned that I don't over-pronate or over-supinate. I have a wide foot, but do not need stability or motion control — something my other shoes had in spades. I needed running shoes that were considered neutral."A stability shoe is basically a corrective device," said Justin Craig, co-owner of RunDetroit. "And they are vastly overused and used incorrectly often."

Craig said in the running shoe market, stability shoes make up 56% of sales nationally. And yet, he says, 70% to 75% of the population falls in the range of normal motion and would be better off in a neutral shoe.

"It can put you at higher risk for injury; it can be uncomfortable. And if it's uncomfortable and it's painful, you're going to quit. It's just going to inhibit you," he said.

Any shoe store that has you stand still to determine the best type of shoe for you is doing you a disservice, said Craig, who has a background in orthopedic medicine, and for years before opening the store worked with foot-and-ankle surgeons.

"It's not something that should be done stationary. Standing on the magic boards isn't going to cut it. If you only stand, you're not going to get across the finish line, let alone the start line," he said. "We want motion."

I walked and ran before being fitted, correctly, with a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders.

The key to being comfortable, said Dr. Robert Kohen, an orthopedic sports medicine specialist and surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, is to get help from a professional to find the right shoes and fit for your feet.

"The one thing with running shoes is you don't want them to be fitting too ti
ght," he said. "Typically, when people land, they need a little bit of room in front of their toes for their feet to spread out and even move forward a little bit as they stride and land.

"If you get blisters usually it's from either too small or poor-fitting shoes. So getting some assistance in getting fitted really is a good idea."And if a pair of shoes that has been working well for you suddenly causes pain, Kohen said, consider that they may simply need to be replaced.

"Some people keep track, and you should get 200 or 300 miles out of your shoes," he said. "But you can look at the bottom, you should look at the wear pattern. If the tread is starting to wear off, that's a sign the shoe is worn out.
"http://www.freep.com/story/sports/marathon/2014/10/15/running-shoes-matter/17269397/

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