Shock absorbing running shoes do not prevent injuries says a new study.
As mentioned in a previous blog, there are changes occurring in the type of running shoe designs now being offered to the public. Running shoe manufacturers are moving away from minimalist designs to a more traditional design that is less stiff and less constructed but with a higher heel (10mm avg., rather than 4-7mm).
As I have mentioned in my book Cheating Mother Nature, body style and our accommodation to that style of walking often is what creates the injuries, not just running (if that were the case, wouldn’t all runners have the same types of injuries with the same types of activities and intensity). Cushioning high impact at the ground is often the solution offered (shock absorbent heel cups) by many healthcare providers for running or so called overuse injuries, and many companies decided to design shoes based on impact absorption, which seems to be ineffective as per this newest study.
Perhaps, we need to look at body mechanics, and asymmetry which causes distortion of the core muscles (muscles surrounding the pelvis) which decreases stride length, inhibits the spring effect of shock absorption of the pelvis and increases the impact of the foot, leg and results in a tightening of the leg muscles which further increases impact at the ground. This inefficiency results in less flexible structures, more stress in the structures of the leg and the common injuries we often see, whether we cushion the impact or not. Is it any wonder cushioning the point of impact (the foot) is ineffective at preventing running injuries.
Maybe we need a philosophical reboot of how we look at runners as healthcare practitioners. Understanding why they hurt and how they got that way is infinitely more valuable than whether we tell them to treat the injury that occurred, because when the injury heals, a new injury is well underway because the underlying problem has never been resolved; asymmetry, with secondary distortion of the core muscles.
While shock absorption running shoes may feel better to those with high impact, addressing the cause of high impact is what potentially can help prevent injuries.
Check out the study here
Study: Shock-Absorbing Running Shoes Don’t Reduce Injury Risk
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Despite advertising claims that softer soles in shoes can help runners keep from getting hurt, researchers from France and Luxembourg found no evidence suggesting the hardness of a person’s footwear increases or decreases the risk of running-related injuries.
Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, experts from the Luxembourg Public Research Centre for Health’s Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg Sports Clinique, and Oxylane Research in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France describe how they conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial probing the impact of a runner’s shoes on their running-related injury (RRI) risk.
They provided nearly 250 runners with standard running shoes possessing either a soft study shoes (soft-SS) midsole or a hard study shoes (hard-SS) midsole. The researchers then tracked those runners for a period of five months, collecting information about their running habits and their injuries via a dedicated online platform.
For the purposes of the study, RRI was defined using two criteria. It had to be any type of first-time pain that was sustained during or directly as a result of running, and it had to cause enough harm that it would prevent a study participant from engaging in his or her regular running activity for at least one day.
According to Reuters reporter Miriam Stix, the study authors found that while factors such as an individual’s body weight and overall fitness level did have an impact on injury rates, the amount of padding in a runner’s shoes did not.
“The results do not support the common argument from the running shoe industry that runners with higher body mass should be recommended shoes with greater shock-absorption characteristics,” lead author Dr. Daniel Theisen, a physical therapist and sports science specialist at the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, told Stix on Friday.
A runner himself, Dr. Theisen told Reuters he expected that the additional shock-absorption in the footwear would actually help relieve running-related mechanical stress on the physique. However, that was not what he and his colleagues found following their analysis of 247 men and women, all of whom were between the ages of 30 and 50, had body mass index scores ranging from normal to slightly overweight, and ran at least 10 miles each week.
“Participants got shoes provided by ‘a renowned sports equipment manufacturer,’ according to the report, which were customized versions of a model sold in stores,” Stix said. “There were no identifying decorations on the shoes, and all appeared identical except that half of the pairs had a soft midsole – a spongy layer beneath the insole of the shoe’s interior.
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