It has been a long time since I have composed a blog and even longer since I composed one about injury. Injury is still something that plagues the running community, regardless of the billion dollar running shoe industries effort to make shoes to help buffer ground reaction forces or help you supinate more or pronate less. For example, have you been told that you overpronate, so you are told you need a stability shoe? Runners World Magazine just published an article in December about the best stability shoes for this problem. As a matter of fact, the authors made this statement, “’Bars,’ ‘rails’ and medial posts are buzzwords for the tech brands build into shoes’ outsoles to help with alignment and relieve your feet and legs from that constant rolling inward motion”. What type of material can be placed in the sole of a shoe that can redirect the force of more than double the body weight of the runner? Remember, Newton’s third law of motion is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That force comes right back at you and because it is equal and opposite, it will be the same if you are running on a treadmill, trail, or pavement.
I am a huge proponent of screening my runners for injury potential. In my experiences, I have found that through movement screenings, someone with poor movement patterns can strengthen their muscles to provide natural muscular stability. This helps appropriately direct the ground reaction force through their joint segments and allow for more appropriate kinematics through the hip joint that create the foot strike on the ground in the first place. My goal with my runners is to always reduce injury potential and increase performance potential.
In the picture above, you see John Doe. This picture speaks a thousand words and it is only one view of several things I am looking at. What does he need? He needs exercise programming, supplementary exercises to his run training, not a “stability” running shoe. Ever heard of Pronation Distortion Syndrome (PDS)? PDS is primarily characterized by excessive pronation, but some people just call themselves “flat footed” or that they have “knocked knees”. In a static standing position, if you have a flat foot, your shin bone will rotate in and then your thigh bone will then internally rotate as well. However, in the picture of John Doe, he is not standing there static, he is in motion. PDS not only comes from the foot but can also come from dysfunction at the hip. Strength imbalances at the hip allow for rotating and moving inward of thigh bone, which also puts strain around the knee joint. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, PDS can come from different origins, the hip or the foot and can create pain at the foot, hip, knee, and lower back. Individuals with signs of PDS (foot or hip imbalances) have an increased susceptibility to: foot and toe pain, Achilles tendon dysfunction, plantar fasciitis, anterior/posterior tibialis tendinitis, and patellar tendinitis. Yikes!
Again, in my experiences, I have found that exercise programming helps limit the above issues. Likewise, I have seen runners not follow their exercise prescription and end up with one of the above listed injuries. If you didn’t know, running breaks down your body and what you do when you aren’t running is what keeps it strong and healthy. Stay strong and healthy friends!