With today’s busy lifestyles, running is an affordable, convenient way to stay healthy. As more us make it part of our routine, health professionals are encouraging runners to pay close attention to their footwear.
“Running shoes are a critical piece of equipment that novice runners often ignore,” explains Anthony Harper, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “This oversight can result in painful overuse injuries including stress fractures, runner’s knee, heel pain and shin splints.”
Harper says today’s running shoes are the product of years of research and development and are specifically designed to provide support and cushion joints.
But over time, the support and cushioning wear down. If you run frequently and far, train primarily on roads or have a heavier build, your running shoes will break down even faster. As your shoes wear, your ankles, knees, hips and back will have to absorb more and more of the impact.
Overuse injuries develop slowly, from small tears to swelling to persistent pain. Here’s how you can reduce your risk:
Track your distance. Running shoes should be replaced every 600 to 800 kilometers If you wear your running shoes for other activities beyond running, that distance counts too.
Be aware of new pains. If your feet, knees or hips start to hurt during your regular run it’s a good indication that the cushioning or supports in your shoes are worn down. Now is the time to start breaking in a new pair.
Examine your shoes. Turn your shoes over and look at the wear patterns and see if any cracks are forming. Also look carefully at the inside and outside of the shoes. If the treads and sides are visibly worn and the shoes don’t feel firm when you twist them, it’s time to get a new pair.
Book a consultation. Canadian certified pedorthists have extensive knowledge in bio-mechanics and are footwear and foot orthotic experts. If you have uneven wear on your treads or are experiencing foot, ankle, knee or hip pain, they can advise you on whether foot orthotics or a different brand and style of footwear will help.
Find more information at www.pedorthic.ca.