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Running Shoe Tips from a Foot Expert

Running Shoe Tips from a Foot Expert

Posted by American Foot and Leg in Shoes, Sports Injuries 25 Nov 2013

Female Runner Tying Her Shoe | Running Shoes
By Dr. Jeffrey Flash, D.P.M.

Running is a very effective way to burn calories and keep in shape. There are not many other methods of exercise that can burn the same amount of calories in the same amount of time. This is why it is such a popular activity for people to start when they want to become more physically fit.

Running can be a cheap and easy form of exercise because all you really need is a pair of running shoes. But, inappropriate running shoes are what cause the majority of running injuries.

Although the shoes you have or choose to buy may be good shoes, they may not be good for your body build or your preferred running style. There is a new movement among runners toward a minimalist shoe style, which allows the foot to strengthen by being able to respond to the ground’s reactive forces instead of having support from within the shoe itself. In contrast, our traditional running shoes with multiple forms of support, cushioning, stability and they come in lots of different shapes.

The difference is determined by the molds that the shoes are made from called Shoe Lasts which are in the shape of feet. There are three types: straight last, semi-curved last, and curved last. Each corresponds to a different foot type. Therefore, as you can see, there are many varieties of feet that need different types of shoes.

The first thing runners should do is evaluate their shoes. Most running shoes maintain their structural support for approximately 300-500 miles. This will vary depending on your body type. Lighter runners may get more distance out of their shoes than heavier runners. When I ask my patients how often they replace their shoes, some patients say, “When I start to have discomfort in my legs or fee,t I know its time to switch my shoes.”

While many runners can do this without injury, the risk is always there. An easy trick is to mark the inside of the shoes when you start wearing them and then you will know when to replace them as per the average mileage you run weekly or monthly.

Next you must know your limits. The rule of thumb for running is to start your mileage low and increase slowly to allow your body to adjust to the increased stress on your feet and legs. The rule is to increase 10% of your average mileage per run per week. Example if you start running 2 miles every other day the following week you can increase your mileage to 2.2 miles per run and so on from there until you reach your desired length.

Last, for now, is your shoe choice. I do believe that the minimalist shoes are good, but only for certain body types. I feel that lighter weight runners can switch to these shoes more easily, simply due to the smaller amount of force their feet have to absorb. Also I recommend switching to different shoe types gradually to allow your body to adjust to the increased stress slowly. Otherwise, stress reactions are likely to occur. I rotate between my minimalist shoes and traditional/structurally supportive shoes, depending on the surface I will be running on.

Final Thoughts:
You should enjoy exercising and by reducing your chance for injury, you will be able to maintain your active, healthy lifestyle.

American Foot and Leg Specialists are Podiatrists specializing in treating feet and ankles for many reasons., including running injuries. They have 4 offices to serve you within the Southern Crescent area located in Forest Park, Stockbridge, Locust Grove and Fayetteville.

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