Running shoes are running shoes, as long as you invest in branded footwear you'll be getting the best money can buy. 

Or Will You?

Proprietary brands are developed with specific sports in mind;

  • Road Shoes
  • Trail Shoes
  • Barefoot Shoes
  • Lightweight/Race shoes
  • Track/Field Spikes
  • Fashion Shoes

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All are marketed towards a specific type of event and claim benefits to the wearer. Phil has been running competitively since 1980, where he was a member of The Birchfield Harriers he has also been running with Lichfield Running Club since 1993. The endurance of marathon running is Phil's main interest having taken part in circa twenty events including London, New-York, Paris, Barcelona and The Great North Run while raising money for his chosen charity. Whether you are running for fun, fitness or in professional competitive events you can rest assure that coming from personal experience and a desire to go that extra mile "The Runners Podiatrist" can offer a professional opinion tailored to your personal requirements. The benefits of professional advice from a seasoned athlete are that you will:

  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Increase your enjoyment of your sport
  • Improve your technique
  • Not aggravate existing problems 

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Cycling

If a cyclist is an excessive subtalar joint pronator they tend to overload the first MPJ Joint, this with the nature of cycling biomechanics would lead to an inefficient overload at the forefoot all on the inside of this MPJ. A prescribed orthotic, with the prescription at the forefoot compensates for this mal-force on the pedal. It is specifically designed to correct this force and gives an even application on the pedal to make transmission both uniform and economical. Following a consultation a bespoke device, made to suit the patients personal predisposition can lead to less fatigue and more economy on the pedals. 

Over pronation in these circumstances can lead to first MPJ pain and internal rotation of the knee, resulting in knee pain.

Cycling shoes tend to have a semi-pointed toe and are narrow at the heel. The soles of the shoe must be stiff in order to transmit foot power to the pedal. The cyclist device is constructed to minimise the stresses encountered in cycling.  

A cycling orthotic is a slim device, suitable for a narrow cycling shoe. Cycling shoes are manufactured with a polynyolene shell with a medium density forefoot post to the sulcus.

The benefits gained from the correct use of this type of device while cycling include; 

  • Increased foot control
  • Provides forefoot control (post to sulcus)
  • Designed to aid with smooth power transition for the leg through the foot


Sports orthotics

A question often asked by the uninitiated about Biomechanics is - Do orthotics really work? This is not such a simple question to answer, it can depend upon your definition of work. However the question, do orthotics make a difference, can be answered with a simple yes. 

In order  to prevent problems it is necessary to reduce excessive pronation, i.e. sideways movement of the forefoot, by stabilising the instep and heel (subtalar  joint). One of the best ways to do this is by using a prescription custom made support, called an orthotic, which limits the amount to which the instep is allowed to flatten and stabilise the heel. To do this a one hour biomechanics exam is required, followed up by casting of the foot in subtalar joint neutral, neither pronated or supinated, to create a bespoke orthotic. 

Orthotics can also be helpful in treating Metatarsalgia and Morton's Neuroma [ball of foot pain], Hallus Abducto Valgus (bunions), Osteo-Arthritis (flat feet/fallen arches, Pes Planus, Callus and Corns. 

Pronation  

Pronation is often misunderstood and even vilified, but it is an essential part of the mechanical movement of the human body. Understanding your personal type of pronation is an equally important part of choosing the most suitable running shoes for your foot type.

Pronation can be seen as the body's shock absorber. When the foot impacts the ground, the arch elongates and flattens, which allows the foot to roll inward, thus absorbing the impact. 

While a slight amount of pronation is the proper means to absorb shock naturally, too much pronation (over-pronation) can potentially contribute to running injuries. Pronation can be categorised in two ways, Overpronation and more unusually Underpronation, correction of which can be advised by your podiatrist.

Overpronation can be described as an excessive rolling inward of the foot as it impacts the ground by more than fifteen percent. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilising the body, and shock isn't absorbed as efficiently. 

Underpronation is where the inward movement of the foot occurs at less than ten percent. Consequently, forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part), and are not distributed as efficiently.

Sports Injuries

There has been a marked increase in the number of sports related injuries. Some are serious enough to result in surgery, but the majority are low level repetitive injuries reducing the pleasure of taking part in your chosen sports activity.

Poor advice along with the lack of or in some cases the use of inappropriate equipment, including running shoes, leads to a recurrence of injury and/or retiring from the sport all together.

There is a school of thought which suggests that running barefoot would be beneficial, stating that humans are designed to run barefoot.

Up to a point this is true, if like Zola Budd you grew up running barefoot you would have built up tissue tolerance to cope with your running environment as a result of an altered running form. 

However for those of us who are used to training in the gym, track or road, with running shoes the impact loading experienced by running barefoot will be beyond tissue tolerance.

As we are all individuals it can be considered prudent to have your personal running technique assessed by an expert and base your choice of shoes and training regime around those results. It is worth remembering that only following a biomechanical examination can the correct course of action, which may require the use of bespoke orthotics, be taken.

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