Dr Alex Eade (Osteopath)
What is a good shoe for running?
This blog will be covering
- Correct footwear
- Running load assessment
- Ankle assessment
- Self rehabilitation
We are all stuck at home with no sport or gyms. So what are we all doing? We are all going running.
Running is not easy and we are starting to see similar problems through the clinic. Calf tightness, achilles pain and plantar fasciitis.
We have identified the fact that some may not be prepared for running in iso. People are just over doing it straight away. Here we will go through some tips and tricks on how we can be more prepared and injury free.
First thing we are going to look at today is the equipment in our arsenal.
Poor quality footwear!
Here are 3 tests to check your shoes
We want a nice and stiff at the heel providing the stability to lock our heel to give us calf control.
Second test, Grab the shoe from the front and back, bend it up and down. It should have a bit of bend at the front of the shoe but does not allow twisting from side to side.
If the shoe can bend over on itself or twist over itself, it means it is worn out. Which will increase the chances of overuse injuries, it simply is not firm enough to provide a stable shock absorption.
Next part is the lacing. Here we should have a good amount of lacing to provide stability of holding your foot in the shoe. We do not want your shoe to constantly work to hold itself in the shoe. If you find your heel is sliding out of the shoe then you can try and use the extra shoelace hole at the top to anchor your ankle in.
Well done, you have tested your shoes. If they do not pass the test then here is a checklist for when buying a new pair. One thing for sure is you have to go in store and test them out.
You need to look at width, the front foot should not be cramped as we want this area to be able to spread when we contact the ground while running.
Next is the stack height
Stack height refers to how much foam we have in the heel compared to the front which is normally 10 mm higher at the heel. This can be higher or lower and for most recreational runners 10mm is recommended.
Stability or neutral shoe?
Stability provides more arch support where neutral provides minimal. This will depend from person to person on what shape your foot is. If you are someone who has orthotics then a neutral shoe would be best, that way you only get the support from the orthotic. When trying shoes on, always take your orthic.
Now the running
This comes down to how much running you have done previously and if your body is conditioned to running. Even then a change in surface from track and grass to concrete is going to be a big adjustment.
If you are starting to feel soreness then we need to change the frequency and volume of load going through the body. What I mean by this is how often we run in a week and the total kilometers.
The runs over the week should be spread over the days of the week with rest days in between instead of running three days straight. The body needs time to recover and adapt even if you do not feel the soreness. The other aspect is reducing the distance for each run and increasing the times you do to get the same kilometers over the week. If that does not help then reducing the total kilometers over the week is required.
For new runners I recommend trying a walk run split where you run for 5min and walk for 3min as an example. That way the fatigue of running does not impact the form and will reduce the risk of injury,just until the body becomes more accustomed.
Now that we have talked about shoes and running, things we can do right now to help with our pain.
First thing we will do is measure our ankle flexibility
Want to measure with a ruler how far you can get from the wall. The foot should normally get at least 10cm from the wall and compare both sides.
Now when your heel lifts off during the test, I want you to feel where the restriction is coming from. It can be either from the calf, achilles or the front of the ankle. This will dictate what exercise we do to improve our range of motion.
If you feel the restriction in the calf muscle then this means it is so tight that it pulls the heel early and impacts our running gait. Just a simple calf self massage can help here, either with a foam roller or hard ball.
Coming further down towards the heel, if you feel it is more in achilles which the firm elastic tissue below the calf then load modification and strengthening is required. Performing a Standing calf raise isometric hold for 30seconds can be a start to building load tolerance through the achilles.
If it is the front of the ankle, it could be more a bony blockage or connective tissue that is restricting the joint. We can try a handy exercise to help it glide freely. The exercise below can help provide traction to really get the ankle joint gliding freely.
Now finally the foot. Which we can not forget about!
One thing you can do at home if you are getting pain under the foot and that is rolling a firm ball underneath. Anything you have at home that is firm like a hockey ball, cricket ball or golf ball. Just something firm enough to provide a strong level of pressure under that foot, then simply stand on it and roll from heel to toe. Once it has loosen slightly let the foot collapse over the ball and hold it over some of the more painful spots at the end.