Running (Jogging)

  • Author:
    Richard Weil, MEd, CDE

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What shoes should I wear when running?

Footwear

Although research does not necessarily prove that shoe type prevents running injuries, I suggest running shoes since they do provide support in the midsole and padding and reinforcement in the heel. You hit the ground with two to three times your body weight when you run, and so I think it's prudent to wear footwear designed specifically for the activity.

The type of foot you have and your running style will determine the shoe that you purchase. The first thing to do is determine your foot strike. Foot strike describes how your foot hits the ground. Normally your heel lands first (heel-strike), followed by mid-foot strike and flattening of the arch to absorb impact (very important), then the forefoot strike (front of your foot), and finally the push-off to the next stride. Soft heel-strikes with a smooth gait pattern and some flattening of the arch will reduce the impact on the foot and cause less stress in joints as high up as the hip (the ankle bone is indeed connected to the hip bone!). There are three types of foot strike:

  1. Pronated foot strike. Pronation is the term to describe when your arch flattens on foot strike (for example, when you have flat feet) and causes your foot to invert, or roll in. Excessive pronation will cause your ankle and leg to twist and can lead to stress fractures, shin splints, and other lower-extremity injuries. You're probably a pronator if the inner edges of your shoes wear out.
  2. Supinated foot strike. Supination is the term to describe high arches that don't flatten. This is a problem because if your arch doesn't flatten and your foot doesn't roll in at all, then you lose shock absorption on foot strike. Excessive supination can lead to ankle sprains, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and iliotibial band syndrome. You're probably a supinator if the outer edges of your shoes wear out.
  3. Neutral foot strike: An efficient amount of flattening of the arch is called "neutral" foot strike. This provides plenty of shock absorption and enough energy for you to have a powerful push-off.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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