After you suit up for an outdoor run, the only thing between you and nature is your running shoes and the clothes on your back, giving you a newfound sense of freedom while you exercise. Unfortunately, making simple mistakes with your running shoes could lead to foot injury, interfering with your ability to walk or run comfortably.
Learn about three shoe mistakes that could lead to foot problems and how to avoid them.
You know your shoe size, which is why you might not think twice before selecting a running shoe in your normal size when you shop in-store or online. However, because of the mechanics of running, your normal shoe size might be too small, causing cramping, toenail problems, and chafing.
When you run and your foot strikes the ground, the impact causes your foot to stretch and lengthen temporarily. Although your foot returns to normal size whenever it isn't in stride, this lengthening demands a longer shoe.
This is why running experts recommend purchasing running shoes that are half a size larger than your normal shoe size. For instance, if you typically wear a Men's 10, buy a Men's size 10 1/2 when selecting running shoes.
In addition to being a little longer than your normal shoes, running shoes should also fit snugly around the heel and provide enough support and stability to keep your foot from pronating as you exercise. You should also have enough room in the toe box area to let your toes wiggle around slightly.
When you shop for running shoes, try on multiple varieties, and don't settle with a shoe until you try running in it. Oftentimes, running stores allow you to run around to test the shoes out so you can see how well they fit.
One of the reasons running shoes are so important is their ability to absorb some of the shock that your body endures as your foot strikes the ground. To accomplish this feat, most running shoes contain EVA foam, which is made from Ethyl Vinyl Acetate.
While EVA foam is incredibly flexible, lightweight, and great at absorbing shock, this ability fades over time. In fact, researchers have discovered that EVA foam loses its shock absorption power after runners use their shoes to travel 300 to 500 miles, which is why replacing your shoes is important.
If you continue to wear shoes that have passed their expiration date, they may not absorb shock as well, which can cause overuse injuries such as tendinitis or shin splints. To prevent problems, keep track of how many miles you run each day, and start shopping for a new pair when you are close to the 300-mile benchmark or as soon as shoes no longer feel comfortable.
Unfortunately, even a brand-new pair of well-fitting shoes can become a problem if they aren't laced properly. Lace running shoes tightly enough to snugly fit against your foot, but also lace them loosely enough not to cause friction injuries.
You may also need to lace your shoes differently if you have special foot needs, such as high arches, flat feet, swelling, or narrow feet. Using the extra heel lock eyelet at the top of your shoes may also prevent pronation, keeping your entire foot more stable.
Foot injuries from running can be serious, so report any discomfort to a podiatrist quickly. Here at Camden County Foot & Ankle Associates, we can help with a variety of conditions ranging from sprains and plantar fasciitis to flat feet and bone spurs. With a commitment to safe, conservative foot care and creating an excellent patient experience, you can rest assured knowing we will help with your feet.