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Do Running Shoes Prevent Injuries to Runners?

Friday, March 08, 2013

Finding the best running shoe to support your feet and legs is a billion dollar industry, but does spending $150 on the hottest trend in shoes actually providing you enough support to avoid injury? Not necessarily.

Up to 79% of all runners are injured every year, and these numbers have been consistent since the 70Œs says Stephen Messier, the director of J.B. Snow Bio-mechanics Labs at Wake Forest University. According to Messier, no variable that they have tried, not cross-training, not stretching, not $400 custom molded orthopedics, not running on soft surfaces, changes this statistic.

Alberto Salazar, a predominant world marathoner, now coach to some of the worldfs top distance runners, has been researching a solution for this issue. He believes the solution does not involve what you put on your feet, but rather analyzing the best way to run. He emphasizes his research found the safest way it not always the fastest. Salazar studied the running style of the Tarahumara Indians. He describes the tribes running style as gwhisper-softh.

gBarefoot-styleh shoes are a $1.7 billion industry, but Salazar emphasizes that putting a different style of shoe on your feet, doesnft correct the way you run. Analyzing stride and foot impact found that most runners in shoes come down hard on their heels versus landing softly on the balls of their feet.

As you can imagine, this train of thought is met with a lot of resistance by mainstream running enthusiast and foot wear manufacturers. The analyses found that barefoot runners land in almost zero initial impact shock, while heel strikers collide with the ground at a force equal to as much as 3 times their body weight (source: New York Times Magazine).

The best advice for everyday joggers or marathoners? Think about how you strike the ground as you run and how it may lead to injury. Change what you need to help avoid those injury.

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