If you’re a runner, you know that your shoes are an integral piece of equipment when it comes to comfort, performance and injury prevention. Your foot type and function will determine which type of running shoe will be best for your unique needs and training regimen. A shoe must properly fit the shape and design of your foot before you can train in it comfortably.
There are several factors to consider when searching for a new running shoe. These may include:
- Foot structure
- Foot function
- Body type
- Existing foot problems
- Biomechanical needs
- Training regimen
- Environmental factors
- Previously worn running shoe
Failing to replace old, worn shoes is a major cause of running injuries, as old shoes gradually lose their stability and shock absorption capacity. The typical lifespan of a pair of running shoes is approximately 500 miles. It’s important to keep track of their mileage to avoid overuse.
Helpful tips for choosing your shoes include:
- Go to a reputable shoe store that specializes in running footwear
- Bring your old/current running shoes with you
- Know your foot type, shape as well as any problems you’ve previously experienced
- Have your feet measured
- Wear the same socks you wear when training
- Try on both shoes, and give them a test run
If you’re a beginning runner and just starting your training regimen, then it’s a good idea to visit our office for an evaluation. Your podiatrist will examine your feet, identify potential problems and discuss the best running shoes for your foot structure and type. Seasoned runners should also visit their podiatrist periodically to check for potential injuries.
Don’t allow poor shoes choices derail your training program and jeopardize your running goals. A proper-fitting running shoe is an invaluable training tool that allows you to perform your best without injury or pain. The correct footwear, in combination with a proper training routine and professional attention from a skilled podiatrist, is the key to minimizing faulty foot mechanics and maximizing your performance.
Your feet are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments and a vast network of tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Each of these parts works in harmony, enabling you to walk, run and jump normally and without pain.
But before jumping into a rigorous workout or fitness program that involves running, you may want to give your feet some extra attention, starting with a trip to your podiatrist. A professional podiatrist can properly examine your feet, detect potential problems, and provide tips for injury-free training and shoe selection.
Beginning runners are not the only ones who should see a podiatrist. Frequent runners should also pay their podiatrist a visit from time to time to check for any stress on the lower extremities brought on by repetitive force.
Common injuries experienced by runners include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures.
Helpful Tips for Preventing Injury
In addition to visiting our office, you can also prevent injuries that commonly occur during training and running by stretching properly, choosing appropriate footwear, and paying attention to pain or signs of an injury.
To prevent injury to your lower extremities, it’s important to stretch carefully before beginning any workout regimen. When muscles are properly warmed up and stretched, the risk for injury is greatly reduced. Appropriate stretches include stretching of the hamstring and wall push-ups.
Choose Proper Footwear
The type of shoe you should wear also plays an important role in your ability to run without pain and with optimal performance. The shoe that your foot requires will depend on your foot structure and function, your body type, and the type of running or workout regimen you are interested in. Your podiatrist may also prescribe an orthotic, or shoe insert, to alleviate any foot pain or anomalies.
Be Mindful of Injuries
Even with proper footwear and stretching, not all foot problems can be prevented. Whenever you experience pain, stop whatever workout you are doing and rest. As pain subsides, gradually increase exercise with caution. When pain persists, visit our office for a proper evaluation.
New joggers and seasoned runners alike should take the necessary steps to avoid injury to the lower limbs. Consult with your podiatrist before starting any new workout, and always seek professional care when pain or injury occurs.
Turf toe is a sprain of the joint just below the big toe, also known as the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. This foot injury is particularly common among athletes who play on artificial turf, hence the name “turf” toe. When athletes play sports on turf or other hard surfaces, the foot can stick to the ground, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint.
Typically the injury is sudden, but it can also occur after sustaining multiple injuries, such as pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. Although it’s a condition most commonly associated with dancers, soccer players, wrestlers, gymnasts and football players, you don’t have to be an athlete to get it.
Symptoms of turf toe range from mild to severe, and may gradually worsen with continued movement. The most common symptoms of turf toe include:
- Swelling and pain at the joint of the big toe
- Pain and tenderness when bending the toe
- Stiffness and limited movement of the big toe joint
If your symptoms are indicative of turf toe, then you may be able to relieve the pain and swelling with the following self-treatment, including:
- Ice the injury
- Apply a compression bandage
- Rest and temporarily discontinue any physical activity
- Wear a brace to protect the toe and to limit bending
For more severe cases of turf toe, visit our office for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. A podiatrist can easily diagnose turf toe through an evaluation that includes a range of motion and joint stability tests.
Professional treatment may include exercises to strengthen the toe, modified footwear or splinting. With proper treatment, you can eliminate pain resulting from turf toe and return to your favorite sport or activity!
When your feet aren’t working correctly, you may experience injuries and pain in other areas of the body, such as the knees, hips and back. Even the slightest changes from the norm, such as leg length discrepancies or fallen arches, can have a huge impact on your entire body’s ability to function properly without pain or injury.
If you’re an athlete, many sports-related injuries develop from poor biomechanics of the foot. Athletes with poor foot mechanics are more prone to sustaining lower extremity injuries. As your body tries to compensate for any anomalies, your muscles, joints and tendons are placed under excessive stress.
It’s important that athletes visit their podiatrist for a thorough assessment of their biomechanics at the first sign of a problem or pain, including foot discomfort, poor balance or unexplained corns and calluses. An assessment of your low limbs will help identify what happens in your legs and feet when you walk, stand and run. A professional evaluation is critical for successful prevention and treatment of any injury or condition.
Many sports injuries can be traced back to biomechanical problems, including:
- Sprained ankles
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Shin splints
- Calluses and corns
- Plantar fasciitis
Once our practice has identified the problem and cause of your pain, a tailor made treatment plan can be created to restore your lower extremities and feet to their normal function, thus improving your game. Treatment may involve one or more of the following:
- Exercises and therapy to stretch or strengthen muscles
- Orthotic devices are worn inside the shoe to control, realign or cushion the abnormalities, thus reducing discomfort
- Footwear modifications
Don’t let poor foot biomechanics compromise your game. Whether you are a full-time athlete or a weekend warrior, your podiatrist can help you return to your favorite sporting activity. Not only will your performance improve, but you’ll significantly reduce your chance of injuring yourself again. So do the right thing for your body and contact your podiatrist today!
Your feet are the foundation of your entire body—complex structures consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints and 126 muscles and ligaments. They support your weight, act as a shock absorber, serve as a lever to propel the leg forward and help maintain balance.
Since your entire body is interrelated, any mechanical issues with the feet can lead to chronic musculoskeletal problems in other parts of the body, including your back.
One common foot disorder affecting the back is excessive pronation. Also known as flat feet, this condition causes the foot’s arch to flatten and collapse under the body’s weight. While a normal arch promotes stability and alignment of the entire body, the ability to cushion and absorb forces is greatly reduced when the arch collapses. As a result, increased stress is placed on the joints of the body. This continued stress can cause deformities of the foot over time, such as misaligned bones, hammertoes and bunions, eventually making its way to the legs, knees and lower back.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, visit our practice for an evaluation. Your feet may be the source of your pain. If your back pain is caused by poor mechanics of the feet, orthotics may be an effective treatment option. These custom devices are designed to support and restore the arch of your foot. Restoring the alignment of your foot helps normalize posture and alignment of the lower body. This can reduce unnecessary stress to areas of your back.
Choose the Right Shoes!
The shoes you are wearing may also be contributing to your back pain. Good, proper fitting footwear will provide your feet with the support they need to stabilize your body’s weight and relieve the stress on the rest of your body.
If you suffer from back pain, visit your podiatrist for an evaluation. Your feet may be causing your pain. With proper treatment, you can achieve proper foot biomechanics and eliminate your back pain once and for all.
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