Running Injuries: Are Shoes Really the Culprit?

Running is one of the most popular leisure and sports activities in Perth. In addition to the beneficial effects of running, the side effects in terms of sports injuries are also known. And some of us put the blame on the shoes. But is it really those pair of shoes that place runners at higher risk of injury?

Running Injuries: The Blame Game

The viewpoint of putting blame in the runner is one that most people, especially shoe manufacturers, choose to ignore. They want a shoe that will absolve runners for any such responsibility. However, for Harvard University paleoanthropologist Dan Liberman, he says that “running is a skill and how one runs matters more than what is on one’s feet.”

Shoe characteristics do affect the amount of impact your body absorbs and how it absorbs that impact while you’re running. But the nature of running is fundamentally high-impacted and the shoes do not change it.

Before blaming it all on the shoes, there are other factors you must consider first. There are other reasonable contributors to the high injury rate in running such as body weight, inactivity, hard surfaces, and type of environment.

The Influence of Shoes in Running Injuries

Appropriate footwear and the use of shock-absorbing materials can help reduce the impact during running. For pronated runners, their ideal shoes should control the excessive motion of their feet.

In the 2015 British Journal of Sports Medicine, Nigg et al suggested that cushioning and pronation should be replaced with two new paradigms of preferred movement path and comfort filter. These paradigms can potentially improve insight into the mechanisms of running performance and walking. However, both proposed paradigms still need more research.

The two new paradigms, preferred movement path, and comfort filter suggest that a runner intuitively chooses a comfortable product using their own comfort filter, which lets them remain in the preferred movement path. The authors say that this may automatically reduce injury risk and may explain where there don’t seem to be a worldly trend in running injury rates.

Comfort and Reduced Injury Risk

In another paper written by McKenzie et al, it says that appropriate footwear advice and the use of energy-absorbing materials to help reduce shock will benefit runners. Running shoes for runners with pronated feet should control excessive motion. The shoes should be board-lasted, straight lasted, have a stable heel counter, extra medial support, a wider flare than the shoes for the high-arched foot. For these athletes, a slip-lasted, curve-lasted shoe with softer ethylene vinyl acetate and a narrow flare is appropriate.

Malisoux et al wrote that multiple shoe use and participation in other sports are strategies which can lead to a variation of load applied to the musculoskeletal system. For recreational runners, these are recommended to prevent running-related injury.

Stated differently, it’s not that footwear couldn’t have an influence on running injuries. But when it comes to frequency of injuries, it does appear to have influence since we already choose the most comfortable shoe and avoid uncomfortable and potentially harmful footwear.

Ultimately, it is up to you if you let your shoes become the culprit. It depends on how you choose your shoes to use for running. While it can also be a factor that causes injuries, we can’t put all the blame on the shoes.

Maybe it’s beyond the running shoes that cause problems. But there’s one thing you can be certain of. Assistance from a Perth physiotherapist can help you prevent running injuries as much as possible. If you need physiotherapy advice, call us today at 9444 8729!