Running

The best footwear for running

NIKKI PRIESTLEY
Oct 15, 2020

Are you unsure on the myths and facts around running shoes? If so continue reading….

SMALL FOOTWEAR CHANGES CAN BE ABSORBED IN OUR RUNNING STYLE.

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STICK TO WHAT YOUR FEET KNOW, AS BIG CHANGES IN FOOTWEAR ARE ASSOCIATED WITH INJURY RISK

As a Physiotherapist specialised in the lower limb, I am always reading around running and footwear to give my patients the most up to date information! When I see patients in clinic and I question them about their history, I commonly will hear the onset of symptoms/injury occurred after a change to their footwear. As a new runner the past year, it is certainly been a thought I have had on the lead up to the London 2020 Marathon , when should I change my footwear?! So, I hope this blog will answer some of your questions and summarise the latest thinking about running footwear. The content of this blog is derived from a podcast I listened to by a highly regarded Physiotherapist and running specialist, Tom Goom. Tom is highly regarded amongst us physiotherapists and the sports world, as he has written many publications about running and published research.

Firstly, he states and I agree there are many myths that incorrect footwear is the cause of injuries and that selecting the right footwear will solve the problem! Its simple not the case….it appears that small changes to footwear can be adapted too by runners as, they can fine tune their running style. Paradoxically, large changes to footwear may increase the risk of injury!

So let address some of the key points around footwear and give you some amazing top tips…..

What is the heel-toe drop?

This refers to the heel height and the forefoot height in a shoe. Although, the research suggests that injury risk was is not altered by the drop of running shoes, it is thought low drop shoes may be more hazardous for regular runners.

Certainly, those runners suffering with Achilles pain may want to consider a large heel drop to decrease the load on the Achilles, as it will reduce the peak ankle dorsiflexion when running. But this patient group should also strongly consider a tendon loading program, to improve the load and tolerance capabilities of the calf complex. We would also advise to avoid or reduce hill running, which will reduce the peak ankle dorsiflexion, as well as, reduce the intensity of running, increase your step rate and reduce hill running, as of which, will reduce the load and demand on the Achilles tendon.

Should I run barefeet? Does it improve running economy?

Shoe weight is thought to be a key factor for enhanced performance, and running with minimalist shoes has been shown to improve running economy. However, reduced shoe weight will mean reduced cushioning, which also improves running economy as it helps to reduce muscles activity required to absorb forces of running. Our advice is to balance shoe weight with cushioning as, there many other ways to improve your running performance!

What should I consider when buying new running shoes?

  • Stick to what your feet know! As making big changes from the current shoe type has bee indicated as an associated injury risk.
  • Go with what feels comfortable, try them out if possible, for symptom response.
  • Go lighter in weight as this may improve your performance.
  • Consider a minimalist shoe if suffering with knee pain
  • If suffering with Achilles or calf pain consider shoes with a larger heel-drop
  1. Select a softer arch for runners with plantar fasciopathy.
  2. If suffering with metatarsal pain or pathology consider a show with a firmer forefoot.

When should I get new trainers?

We advise you to change your trainers every 350-600 miles.

Want to find out more?

For those geeky runners, like me out there, if you want to find out more, visit Tom’s sight, it is a fantastic resource, https://www.running-physio.com/.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and picked up on some useful tips, plus remember ‘prevention is better than cure’. Book in for a 90-minute Injury Screening and full assessment of Your biomechanics.

NIKKI PRIESTLEY

Lead Physiotherapy & Owner Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on linkedin LinkedIn

NIKKI PRIESTLEY
BSc (Hons) PgCert MCSP AACP
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