Performance Shoes: A tool to help us run – Part 2: What do you look for?
June 20, 2016

Performance Shoes: A Tool To Help Us Run, Part 3 – Injury and Footwear

Injury and footwear:

Footwear can change the way we run. It can influence our:

  • Cadence
  • Stride length
  • Contact style
  • Kinematics
  • Kinetics
  • Economy

Barefooted Runners

It has been shown that barefooted people will reduce their step length, increase cadence, and have a forefoot strike, Studies have shown that footwear can increase forces in the joints:

  • knee flexion torque by 36%
  • knee varus torque by 38%
  • hip internal rotation torque by 54%

These increases imply greater loads on the joint and could be an explanation for some injuries, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome. Common causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome are:

  • weakened vastus medialis,
  • tight lateral patella fascia,
  • rotational imbalance in the femur, and
  • patella compressing against the trochlear groove.

As peak forces go up in a joint we tend to have more activation of surrounding tissues and hence more compression and stress in a joint.

Traditional higher heeled to toe drop shoes (24 to 12) with medial posting actually increases knee flexion torque, hence increasing medial compression of the knee joint. And, the primary cause of medial knee osteoarthritis is attributed to this increase in varus torque of the knee.

There are so many injuries that can be caused by increased rotational imbalances at the hip, so you want to avoid shoes which will put you at risk of increasing this.

It is always advised to consult with a specialist to assess your lower limb biomechanics, strength and flexibility in conjunction with a footwear fitting specialists to steer you in the right direction for the best treatment and footwear.

Holly Khan
Holly Khan
Holly Khan is the principle senior podiatrist at Central Podiatry. As a passionate and competitive triathlete she has focused her skills on becoming a specialist in musculoskeletal sport injuries of the lower half of the body. Holly has thrived on freeing people of pain since commencing her podiatry profession in 2008 and is dedicated to continuing to improve her skills to gain top treatment results.

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