So many running injuries occur every year. Because of that, the shoe companies continue to release shoes with new technology that will supposedly minimize injuries.
Their marketing budget allows the shoes and their message to get out everywhere in order to get you, the injured runner or the runner looking to prevent injury, to purchase them. And yet, even with all this new technology in shoes, many runners continue to get injured on a regular basis.
Those same injured runners then go into online forums and groups asking about what shoes they should buy because of their injury.
If you have not realized it yet, changing shoes isn’t going to solve your problem…or at least not changing to the shoes that you continue to change to. Changing shoes can help if you do the right things and choose the right shoes.
Why added or different support won’t help you
You go to a shoe store, they watch you run, see you pronate, and tell you that you need a shoe with some stability and possibly an arch support. So you get one, it helps for a bit…and then something else becomes injured.
First off, we need pronation! Yes, we can have too much pronation and that is good to fix (through exercises, not shoes or insoles), but some pronation is absolutely necessary. Pronation is how the foot unlocks, provides the body its natural shock absorption, and allows us to transition onto the big toe. Without pronation, the foot cannot provide the necessary shock absorption or get you onto your big toe properly, which results over time in injuries to your foot, leg, or back.
Secondly, the more you support the foot to fix the pronation (or overpronation), the more problems you will have down the road as the foot gets weaker and weaker.
Why the added cushioning doesn’t help you
Many runners think adding cushion to the shoes will help soften the blow on the knees and the hips. Unfortunately, that is 100% incorrect. The cushioning in a shoe cushions the foot. That’s it! It does nothing else to cushion anything in the rest of the leg.
In fact, the more cushion you have, the more likely you are to land harder. The foot wants to feel the ground. It needs to in order to know what the body is doing in space. The more cushion you have, the harder your body will make your foot hit the ground in an attempt to feel the ground. The less cushion you have, the softer your foot will hit the ground. If you truly want to pound your joints less, you need less cushion in your shoes!
Oh, and another big piece. Because you cannot feel the ground with cushioning in the shoe, you are more prone to rolling your ankle. The nerves in the body that sense our movements do not activate as quickly when we are wearing shoes with cushion. Meaning, our protective response time is slower the more cushion you have.
What you can do instead
I could dive into more topics, including drop height and the stiffness of the shoe, but rather than doing that, let’s jump to what you can do instead of ‘upgrading’ your shoes.
Fix your overpronation naturally (and keep your pronation)
No, you do not need support to correct your overpronation. You need to strengthen your feet and teach them how to do the job they were created to do. The foot has three arches and we all know from the many bridges around the world how strong of a structure arches are. We also have toes that have the ability to move independently from each other. Start to do the necessary things to gain the strength, control, and dexterity of your feet.
Be barefoot more
Simply walking around barefoot allows the foot to do more its job and function more like a foot. The more you can be barefoot when at home, the better off you will be.
Start transitioning into minimalist shoes
Minimalist shoes allow your feet to still function as feet while also providing protection against the elements. If you want to upgrade your shoes to minimize your injury risk, I suggest you go this route.
One BIG thing to point out – I said “start transitioning,” not simply “transition.” Doing it too fast can set you up for major injuries. Do it smartly and you can make a full transition without issue.
Are you ready to start the process of teaching your feet how to be feet again, but not sure how to do it? Let’s chat! Schedule a FREE Discovery Call with Dr. Brianne Showman to learn what your next steps are.
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