Selecting The Proper Running Shoe To Prevent Hip Pain
In our chiropractic care office, we see a wide range of runners, ranging from those just starting out to serious athletes training for an UltraMarathon. No matter what your athletic ability, we can all benefit from knowing how to make the right choice when it comes to athletic shoes.
Improperly fitted shoes are a common cause of problems like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, IT band and hip pain. Taking a bit of time to research what type of foot you have and the specifications of a shoe can help you find a shoe that fits properly and helps eliminate these types of pains.
Many running stores offer professional fitting services, but it may not always be convenient to carve out time to have a professional evaluation. Use these tips to help you make the right choice when selecting your athletic shoe and avoid problems that might require chiropractic treatment.
First, it helps to know what types of arches you have. Are they low, medium or high? Many of us probably already know the answer to that. If you don’t, a great way to test that is the wet test. Simply wet the bottom of your foot and then stand on a blank piece of heavy paper. You’ll then step off and evaluate where your foot leaves a mark.
Second, you’ll need to know what level of pronation you have. We all pronate, or roll our feet inward upon striking the ground, to some degree. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward too far (greater than the average of 15 degrees). This can lead to excessive muscle tightness and runner’s knee pain. People with lower arches tend to overpronate.
Underpronation occurs when the foot does not roll inward enough (less than the average of 15 degrees). This is also called supination. This can lead to muscle tightness in the calves, quads, hamstrings, plantar fasciitis and IT band syndrome. People with high arches tend to underpronate.
With these specifics in mind, you’ll be able to find your ideal type of shoe. There are three main categories of shoes. Neutral running shoes are ideal for many runners, specifically those with medium to high arches with normal or supinated feet. Motion control running shoes tend to work best for those runners who have flat feet and severe overpronation. Support running shoes are designed for runners with low to medium arches and mild to moderate overpronation.
Additionally, you’ll want to take a look at the drop of the sole. Shoes have what is referred to as a heel-toe offset or “drop”, which is the difference between the heel height and toe height. Many shoes have a 9-10mm drop or even greater. This works well for most people, as calf flexibility is generally limited. Using a low drop shoe can work for some runners but will lead to shin splints in others. It is often recommended if someone suffers from shin splints to switch to a shoe with a higher drop.
Zero drop shoes, shoes that are even from heel to toe height, should be worn with caution, as it requires a transition period and can lead to injury if done incorrectly. It is also highly recommended that running shoes be half to a full size larger than your normal shoes. This gives your feet room to expand as they pound the pavement and will prevent blackened toenails.
Hopefully this information helps you narrow down your shoe choices and select the best running shoe for your feet. Shoes should be always tested before purchase. Try on a variety in your style. Feel for pressure points. Does the shoe rub against your feet? Does the arch feel like it presses into your foot? Your perfect shoe should feel natural, like you’ve just slipped on a cloud that fits perfectly around your foot. Try them out on a treadmill for a short distance.
You should be able to tell fairly quickly if these are the right or wrong shoe for you. Keeping all this in mind will take some of the intimidation out of your next running shoe shopping experience and lead to happier feet when you put them to use.