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Running is blissfully simple in essence so if you're serious about getting into it then the most important piece of kit you're going to need is a really good pair of running shoes. The Running Bug spoke to Jimmy Michael and Giles Gyer directors of Osteon physical therapy to find out more.
As exciting as buying your running shoes might be, choosing the best pair for you does not mean going to your nearest sports store chain and buying the most expensive pair on the shelves. It means understanding what foot type you have and buying the right kind of trainer for you.
Remember that your running shoes will not be the same as your casual trainers. The foot moves a lot when you're running so you need a shoe to accommodate this otherwise you could end up with a whole host of complaints from injuries to black toenails. Despite some seeing the latter as a badge of honour, it's not going to help you keep running in the long term.
"Some people say 'Train through the pain' but I disagree," says physical therapist Jimmy Michael. "You might manage a marathon if you run through the pain but you might never want to run one again."
The best thing you can do is go to a dedicated running shop or visit a specialist like Osteon and have your running style, known as gait, analysed. That way you'll be sure to have the right shoe. However, if you want to understand what foot type you have so you're not going in blind, here's an explanation.
Different foot types
1. Normal foot (Natural pronation)
Biometrically sound, the foot plants with the outside of the heel then the pressure moves forward up the outside of the foot, rolling inwards before finishing the movement, or gait, by pushing off with the big toe.
Shoe type for normal feet: StabilityIf you have this foot type it's just as important to get the right shoe as with any other foot type. If you get a shoe designed to adjust over or under pronation you'll end up working against your body's natural gait and cause yourself an injury. The type of shoe needed for the normal foot is commonly known as a 'stability' type. "If you walk around all day in shoes that don't correctly support your foot - the ballet slipper worn by some women being an example - then you are eventually going to find you develop pain in your feet, ankles and calves," says Jimmy.
2. Flat foot (over pronation)
Commonly known as 'Flat foot', this foot type usually causes over pronation where the foot rolls too far to the inside. The flat foot leaves a full imprint of the shape of the foot, without any arch, on the floor. As with the normal foot type the running form starts with the heel landing first but the foot lands more squarely and rolls inwards, which is known as 'over pronation'. This causes a lack of stability as the ankles and knees have to work to correct the problem and also means the large and second toe are being overworked.
Shoe type for flat feet/over pronation: Motion Control For this type of foot you need a shoe with an inner arch, also known as a motion control shoe, that supports the foot and spreads the pressure evenly. "By giving extra support to the inner arch your foot is supported and won't slam down, which will lead to injury," says Giles.
3. High arch (under pronation)
This type of foot looks to the naked eye like the normal foot, but the key difference is that the arch is too large. While the pronation of the foot starts at the heel in the same way as for a normal foot and progresses up the outside of the foot towards the toe, there is not the same amount of roll towards the inside of the foot so the runner pushes more from the smaller toes and is therefore less efficient.
Shoe ner type for high arch/under pronation: Cushioned ShoeYou need a shoe that will provide support for your foot arch. The correct trainer type is commonly known as 'cushioned' and will help correct under pronation.
Buying your running shoe
When buying your running shoe, there's no substitute for getting an expert's eye to analyse your gait; that way, you're sure you've got just the right shoe for you and greatly reduce the chances of getting common running injury like runners knee and problems relating to the ankles and hips.
Speak to professionals who can provide a detailed computer analysis of your gait and help with any injuries or discomfort (visit Osteon for more information) or go to a decent running shoe shop where they will do an analysis for you.
Which shoe to choose? Visit the Running Bug's Running Gear Reviews section to see what shoes get the thumbs up from us. Got a question? Why not ask the Running Bug's members in our Running Forums. If you're ready to start running, then check out our Running Training Plans.
Thanks to Run Bike H2 where this interview took place. Run Bike H2 is a gym for runners and cyclists and SPIN® providing a fitness and commuter solution. Complete with luxury showers and changing facilities, bike parking and servicing, SPIN® studio, gym, running club, Personal Training and Sports Therapy, the club offers Membership & Pay As You Use tariffs.
Thanks to Jimmy Michael and Giles Gyer at Osteon. For a gait analysis, osteopathy, physiotherapy, sports and remedial massage, acupuncture or podiatry then contact Osteon directly:
email: email@example.com web: www.osteon.co.uk Phone: 020 7043 6025
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not long started running,and hope to do my first 5k fun run this may,thing is when i run at the mo im using average trainers to go running.i read somewhere that there is good average running trainers out there that are light and comfy thing is i havnt got a clue on which brand of trainer to go for i want to spend round £40-60 for some descent ones please could someone start me on which brands i could have a look at,and what people prefer so i get a rough idea whats about thank you
'"If you walk around all day in shoes that don't correctly support your foot - the ballet slipper worn by some women being an example - then you are eventually going to find you develop pain in your feet, ankles and calves," says Jimmy.'
Is that so? Jimmy needs to give some proper evidence to support his statement. Plenty of barefoot advocates would claim that pain experienced is a result of becoming accustomed to less support and it recedes after an acclimatisation period. I support this view, but I am as cautious about making an unqualified blanket statement to this effect as Jimmy should be of his unqualified blanket statement.
Read this: well.blogs.nytimes.com/.../phys-ed-do-certain-types-of-sneakers-prevent-injuries
Note that it references proper academic studies. Then note that at best there is no scientific evidence that running shoe 'prescription' based on foot type works and at worse wearing the 'correct' shoes could actually be worse for you than wearing an incorrect ones! They are small studies, but they certainly suggest running shoe 'prescription' could be a waste of time.
I've just made the decision to finnaly start running Ihave a descent pair of trainners but they are due to be replaced. I have read in the beginners info that it is wise to get my gait checked. My question is can I go to a podiatrist to have it checked?
i found that all d w sport shops have a gait testing free of charge. i had mine done makes a massive difference
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