Sports injuries often result in a visit to the podiatrist. But did you know that choosing the right pair of running shoes and training correctly can help to prevent many common foot injuries? Read on to find out more.
How to choose running shoes
When it comes to choosing running shoes, there's a bewildering array of styles available, ranging from heavy traditional ones with plenty of arch support, to lighter, more minimalist forms. So, which do you choose?
The most important thing to look for in a running shoe is comfort. First of all, the shoe should feel good while you're actually running. Try jogging on the spot in the shoe store to see just how comfy the shoes are before you buy them.
The shoe must also fit properly. You should feel that you're running barefoot across a smooth, springy surface. The shoes should not make you feel as though you're making a physical effort to lift your feet, and your foot should land flat as you step onto it, rather than tilting to one side.
A good quality pair of running shoes won't drastically change their shape as you use them, so never buy a 'bargain' training shoe in the hope that it will eventually mould to fit your foot. Podiatrists see many people who have made this mistake and finished up with foot problems as a result. Always buy the best quality running shoe your budget can afford.
Foot injury prevention
Running injuries generally occur as a result of repetitive stress on the feet. You can avoid this repetition by adding variety to your training regime.
Instead of always running along the flat pavement when you train, try going 'off-piste' and running trails instead. Running over irregular surfaces causes your feet and your body to move slightly differently to running on flat surfaces and can help to relieve stress points.
Another way of avoiding foot injuries is to introduce interval training to your schedule, therefore varying the pace of your running. Running at different paces means that you're altering the focus of stress on your legs and therefore on your feet. If you like to run at the gym on a treadmill, vary the gradient. This helps to move and change the stress points on your knees, ankles and feet so that you're not continually impacting on the same places.
An extremely effective method of relieving repetitive strain is by alternating the running shoes you use. Each pair of shoes you wear has a slightly different fit. This means that different shoes will change your running mechanics, varying the stress load distribution on your body, and consequently on your feet.
If you're a regular runner, wearing the correct shoes and making a few adjustments to your training regime can go a long way towards preventing foot injuries. Have a chat with a local podiatrist, such as those at Morrison Podiatry Centre, for more advice on what you can do to keep your feet in tip-top condition for many more miles to come!