Running Shoes and Your Health

Jogging or running is a preferred form of aerobic exercise for many people. Even in the winter months there are dedicated joggers out there in cold temperatures getting exercise. Although aerobic exercise is important, some people have found that running has caused them some physical problems.

Running involves repetitive jarring of the spine and depending on your back health; it can either cause problems or worsen a current problem.  This sport may appear to be harmless but back pain is a common complaint among joggers, especially when they are not wearing appropriate footwear.

You might be surprised to know that running puts three to five times your body weight onto your feet, joints and muscles every time you hit the ground. You'll want to take your body frame into account when choosing the right shoe for you.

Joints and discs are jarred and compressed when the body leaves the ground and hits the ground with every stride. That’s a lot of pressure on the knees and the back, after all, “pounding the pavement” is not natural and there can be short and long term consequences. Some experts recommend that joggers run on softer surfaces such as a padded track, grass or on a treadmill.

One thing that is critical is that if you jog, you need a top-quality cushioned running shoe. Many health professionals advocate cushion running shoes to help protect the joints and spine.

The Running Shoe

Selecting the right running shoe for your foot can be a daunting task, especially when you walk into a sports store and see dozens of shoes to choose from. Getting advice from a professional is important because a properly trained health professional can determine the type of foot you have and make suggestions that can help thwart off any possible troubles. More importantly, if you have any back pain at all, you should see a chiropractor before continuing to run; you could be causing more problems by ignoring it.

Motion-Control Shoes

Motion-control shoes offer support for those who overpronate (when the foot rolls excessively inward as the edge of the heel strikes the ground). This action can cause lower back stress or alignment issues. Overpronators tend to have low arches that require additional support.

Stability Running Shoes

Stability shoes are designed to control slight overpronation; and most joggers overpronate. These running shoes are designed to provide moderate support and cushioning.

Cushioning Shoes

Joggers wearing cushioned runner shoes typically supinate; this means their feet tend to exhibit an outward movement when they jog. They are the opposite of pronators and typically have higher arches. If there is no cushioning then the body takes the brunt of the pounding and this can cause damage to joints which results in back pain.

Tips for Buying Running Shoes:

  • Every time you shop for running shoes, have your feet sized properly. You may have different sized right and left feet; many people do.
  • Forcing a shoe on a foot will eventually cause pain.
  • Avoid buying shoes based on advice given after a salesperson has watched you walk. Your gait and foot motion are very different when you run; and although a salesperson may be knowledgeable, they are not health professionals.
  • All runners pronate. Pronation is a normal foot motion during walking and running. Pronation alone should not be a reason to select a running shoe. Stopping pronation with cushions in the shoes may actually cause knee or foot problems to develop. Excessive pronation can occur, but in most cases can be corrected with therapy and exercises to strengthen the foot rather than by a shoe.
  • Purchase shoes at the end of the day when your feet have ‘swollen’ as much as they will.
  • Be sure the shoe has a wide toe box. The toe box is the area where your forefoot and toes are. You should be able to wiggle your toes easily. Narrow toe boxes do not permit the normal spread of the foot bones during running.
  • Test the shoe to determine if it is too narrow: take the insert out of the shoes (if you are able) and step on them on the ground. Does your foot hang over the sides of the insert? If so, your shoe is too narrow.

If you have any discomfort or pain in the foot, leg, hip or back and you aren’t sure whether jogging is safe or not, call Chiro-Med Rehab Centre. We can help you determine what exactly is going on and help you to choose the right shoe based on your needs.

Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help you come up with a personalized plan to ensure the stretches and exercises will benefit the health of your spine. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.

March 12, 2015

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