If like me you’re considering starting your preparation for the up and coming marathon season then take a look at my top tips for staying injury free and completing the 26.2 miles with a smile on your face says James Masterson, a physiotherapist here at Sundial, Brighton.
Which running shoe shall I buy?
Inappropriate footwear is the root of all evil when it comes to running. Before embarking on the long and tedious road to the finish line every runner should start with their feet. Visiting your local running shop for a gait analysis is a good place to begin. As well as being advised on the most appropriate running shoe for your foot type it’s also an opportunity to view yourself in action. Video analysis taken during these consultations will allow you to look at your lower limb alignment whilst you’re walking and running, giving you a good idea of movement patterns which could potentially lead to overuse injury.
Top 5 running injuries caused by over use and inappropriate footwear:
1. Plantar fasciitis
2. Achilles tendinitis
3. Medial tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints)
4. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (aka Runners knee)
5. Iliotibial band syndrome
When it comes to purchasing your shoe it’s likely that you will come across the below terms. Remember it’s not all about what foot type you are! Take the time to get a feel for the shoe, being able to stand, jump, walk and run before handing over your cash is a great way to find out if the shoe works for you and reduce the risk of injury later in your training.
Useful tips for purchasing your running shoe:
- Try having a foot analysis in the late afternoon/evening as your feet swell as the day goes on and may give you a false feel when purchasing your running shoes in the morning.
- Pick a shoe that matches the contour of your arch, you won’t be able to feel this by just standing in them so always make sure you take them for a spin before handing over your cash.
- Try and have your feet measured before trying on your shoe, this will give the running shoe assistant an idea of the size and width of your foot. Different brands suit different foot types and not all shoes will equal in size, for example, Nike shoes tend to be good for wider feet and Adidas tend to be better for a narrow foot type.
- Don’t buy your shoes too small, the fabric will loosen as time goes on but generally if a shoe has hot spots that aggravate your feet whilst trying them out in the shop then it’s likely this will occur during your training. Remember! Tight shoes equal blisters and potential toenail damage, this will limit the amount you’ll be able to train and will also look horrendous in a pair of flip flops.
- Lace your shoe up from the bottom up, not just at the top two eyelets! This allows you to support the shoe around your foot equally and avoids excess movement. Your heel should fit snug within the shoe and your toes need to have some wriggle room at the front. A good test for this is to see if you can still scrunch up your toes whilst the shoe is fully laced up.
- Change your shoes according to your individual usage, most manufactures will recommend that you change your shoe roughly every 300 – 500 miles but this is dependent on so many factors, for example a person’s weight, gait mechanics and running terrain will all play a massive factor in your choice to change your shoes. Let’s be honest running shoes are expensive, so my advice is look for signs of wear and tear and as soon as the natural cushioning of the shoe starts to depreciate this is probably a good time to start looking for your new runners.
If you have any queries or want more help then book in for a free Runner’s MOT.
Next: Do I need orthotics?