Adhering to the maxim of “no pain, no gain” is a risky proposition. On the one hand, the pain of exercise — the burning sensation in your muscles as you push through fatigue — is critical to applying the right amount of stress that will encourage muscle development and growth. Other forms of pain, however, can indicate an injury or discomfort well on its way to becoming a full-fledged problem. In instances of pain in the lower back and below the hips, the cause can often be traced to your footwear. Old, ill-fitting and/or poorly matched shoes can lead to a wide range of injuries, some of which can become chronic over time. The best way to alleviate this running pain is to make sure your footwear is perfectly matched to your activity type and your physical needs. Here are some things to consider when purchasing a pair of running shoes.
Have your feet properly sized
Getting your feet sized is free at any shoe store and only takes a minute. You could discover you’ve been wearing ill-fitting shoes all this time, which might have been contributing to running pain. A better-fitting shoe will eliminate friction and sore spots while providing better structural support to the foot. In the long run, this improved support could be instrumental in helping you avoid structural injuries and the pain that follows.
Match shoe type to physical activity
If you aren’t wearing running-specific shoes, you could be opening yourself up to complications down the road. A regular cross-training or athletic shoe is fine for the occasional run, but if you’re hitting the trail consistently, you want a pair of shoes equipped to handle that consistent stress. Invest in a pair of proper running shoes to give your feet and lower body the necessary support to handle long runs.
Use insoles to accommodate foot irregularities
If you have high arches, pain in your heels or other irregularities that aren’t addressed by your running shoes, insoles can be an easy way to supplement your shoes to bolster foot strength. Insoles are also relatively inexpensive and available in a wide range to address many problems common among runners. By investing in foot support, you might be able to prolong the life of your current pair of shoes or enhance the features on a new pair.
Consider corrective footwear for pronation problems
Many runners suffer with pronation problems to various degrees, whether it’s overpronation or supination. If this applies to you, invest in a pair of shoes that work to correct this problem. A shoe’s ability to compensate for these irregularities can help you decrease your risk of related injuries. In the end, it might even help you correct the problem long-term.
Running pain is too much a threat to be ignored. Chronic injuries resulting from ignoring a problem can take a toll on your body and even lead to more injuries caused by the body’s attempt to compensate. So much is riding on your shoes that it’s worth your time and effort to make sure you have a pair perfectly suited to your needs.
Originally posted on February 1, 2013 @ 4:00 am