Fashion may play a role when people choose which shoes to purchase, but footwear’s main role is to protect your feet – and this is especially true if you are a runner!
Running shoes are the essential equipment for this popular activity. Sure, it can be helpful to sport appropriate shorts and shirt when you train, but protecting your feet is important if you want to reduce the risk of injury.
There are a handful things you need to know when you’re starting a running program and want to keep your feet safe and healthy. One of the most important is to make sure you have proper footwear. So how do you do that? Well, the following tips will help:
As when buying any kinds of footwear, one of the first consideration is the actual time when you will go to buy your running shoes. To that end, make sure you shop in the late afternoon or early evening. Feet swell through the day (until around 4:00 PM), so a pair that fits at 9:00 AM could be tight if you go out for an evening run.
When you buy shoes is important, but so too is where you buy them. Go to a store that actually specializes in running and athletic footwear. The staff at specialty stores are more knowledgeable and can help if you have questions. This isn’t necessarily the case if you purchase shoes from a “mall chain” kind of store staffed by high school kids who are instructed to steer customers toward certain shoes (no matter if they are the best choices for an individual or not).
Running shoes need to provide ample cushioning, while at the same time being well-constructed and structurally supportive. Arch support and solid heel counters are also significant considerations if you want to reduce your risk of plantar fasciitis and other overuse injuries.
Properly-fitting shoes are a “must” for virtually all situations, but especially when it comes to running. Your heel needs to be firmly cradled (not excessively tight), toes need a little room on the sides (so they aren’t pinched), and there should be roughly a thumb’s width of space between the front of the shoe and your longest toe.
Having a proper pair of running shoes that fit well and work with your unique foot structure is a great starting point – no matter if you are a new runner or a seasoned vet.
Of course, shoes aren’t the only consideration when you want to keep your feet safe while you run. Socks tend to be a bit underrated, but serve a valuable function for those who take to the streets, trails, or running tracks. They can help to prevent blisters, keep feet from sliding around within shoes, and—when you choose the right kinds—wick moisture away.
Moisture-wicking properties are especially important for keeping feet cool and reducing the risk of fungal and bacterial growth.
One more potential tool for protecting your feet when you run is a pair of custom orthotics.
If you have either high arches or flat feet—and a significant number of people have one or the other—the condition is going to affect your biomechanics (specifically, how you pronate) when you run. The good news about these arch issues is that we can likely help by prescribing orthotics!
Everyone pronates. The term simply refers to the inward rolling motion of your foot that naturally occurs from your heel hitting the ground through the toes pushing off at the end of a step. Excessive rolling motion is overpronation. Insufficient pronation is supination. Either can cause painful problems!
A pair of custom orthotics correct your biomechanics so your feet go through a proper rolling motion with every step you take. This will have a positive impact on how the rest of your body—including your knees and hips—move when you walk and run. In turn, this also relieves lower back pain for some patients.
For more information about running shoes—or to request an appointment in the event you sustain a foot or ankle injury while training—contact McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group today. Simply give us a call at (916) 961-3434 and our staff will be happy to help.