Running Footwear: Safety Gear or Setup for Injury?

Running Footwear: Safety Gear or Setup for Injury? Blog

Since the advent of the running craze in the 1970s, the athletic shoe industry has been perpetually evolving, adapting new technologies and materials to maximize absorption of shock, gait stabilization, arch support.

Recently, shoe makers have even added wearable tech to the selection. Yet despite those apparent style and functionality alterations, the basics of athletic shoe structure remain:

corrective control of movement, balance, topical cushioning have been and continue to be common in shoe design industry. This is built upon the idea that there are certain ‘types’ of fascia shapes that demand specific types of control and support. The problem is that our understanding of how the foot contributes to energy production during running and jumping has radically changed. We now know that too much arch support can inhibit optimal performance, meaning the technology aimed at injury prevention may in fact contribute to trauma.

Analysis Challenges shoe design background based on how sport shoes producers categorize shoe functionality in terms of the human fascia shape, determined as low, medium or high.
There is a concept to compensate for variance in running principles by “correcting” a runner’s gait.

An actual study held by Knapik et al. used conscripts to marine forces during their routine training sessions to see whether their running shoes that were designed for specific plantar shapes significantly reduced the chances of getting training-related trauma. When they conducted the research, the newly enlisted when first arriving were issued a new pair of shoes to run in. They were given according to the recruits’ foot surface area contacting the floor when standing, presumed to reflect foot arch height. Recruits with high plantar fascia arches assigned cushioned shoes, those that had lower foot arches were given shoes with motion control technology, medium arch guys were given stability shoes. The research team wanted to know if there was a chance to reduce trauma chances giving shoes to people in accordance with their plantar shape.

The trainees taking part in the research were male and female marines, whose feet were evaluated based on how much plantar surface came in contact with a specialized platform. Trained evaluators then rated participantsт’ feet as those having high, medium and low arches. All of the participants were divided into two groups. The key group of marine freshmen (400+ men and 250+ women) got the same shoe style.

The other group was given the shoes based on their foot shape: over 400 men and over 300 women.
A group of medical assistants were tracking the trauma during twelve week’s time.
No difference in the amount of injury between those two groups was found. This way the research group concluded that there is no connection of the shoe type or plantar shape to trauma occurrence.

An even larger research, held by same research team in 2014 corroborated the findings. Comfort Trumps Shoe Design An even more recent study conducted in 2017 evaluated running kinematics of 35 heel-to-toe runners in all three shoe types, and during barefoot running. The study’s authors concluded that most runners maintain the preferred movement path, no matter the type of the shoes they’re wearing.

The result of this research suggests that the shoes designed for specific fascia types have little to no impact on essential gait mechanics.

It would appear runners and other athletes should select shoes according to preferred comfort levels rather than category.

Running Gait Analysis and Retraining at NYDNRehab

Shoes made for running may not live up to what manufacturers promise regarding performance and injury prevention. However, inefficient gait mechanics can lead to injuries that interfere with performance and may even be debilitating. The sports medicine team at NYDNRehab uses the latest technology to analyze running gait mechanics and provide effective retraining. Our state-of-the art gait analysis laboratory enables our therapists to identify biomechanical and neuromuscular deficiencies. They are then able to design a personalized retraining protocol that corrects inefficient gait mechanics and optimizes performance. Whether you are an elite athlete, a weekend warrior or a novice runner, a gait analysis at NYDNRehab can help you improve performance and prevent injury so you can enjoy running for years to come. Call today to schedule your personalized running gait analysis , and discover why NYDNRehab is the very best in NYC. NYDNR is the top Manhattan-based physical therapy and chiropractic clinic that utilizes complete and advanced approach in treating various conditions such as heel pain, sacroiliac joint pain, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tear, myofascial pain, sciatica pain, meniscus tears.

The highly trained professionals of our clinic base their diagnosis conclusions and treatment prescriptions exclusively on objective knowledge of medical science.

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