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  • Writer's pictureLife Made Simple Physio

If you’re going to keep going, get the right footwear!

The anticipation of the UK’s release from this last lockdown is palpable. As we get ready for the shops to reopen, what is on your shopping list? A new pair of trainers or running shoes to replace the sorry pair bought before lockdown 1?

Exciting and somehow scary at the same time. To cope with the last year, many people took to a new exercise regime to suit their circumstances, taking up regular cycling, walking, jogging or running as examples. Good for the heart, for the body, and of course mental wellbeing over the last challenging year.

Keeping going!

With the restrictions of the pandemic likely to end in the next few months, many sensibly plan to continue with their exercise programmes, having in some instances enjoyed better health and fitness than when they were commuting and working from an office, as an example.

Suitable high-quality footwear

It is important to choose your shoe to fit the type of workout you are participating in and should fit you as an individual. The aim of a good shoe is to maximise cushioning of the foot from heavy landings and improve performance of an activity such as the ability to accelerate, decelerate and change direction quicker than your opponent. A well fitted and appropriately chosen shoe can reduce common injuries such as ankle sprains, stress fractures and lesser-known issues, such as metatarsalgia.

Arch support

Running specific shoes have historically been designed to correct an individual’s running gait pattern and help shock absorb impact of the foot hitting the ground which, over time, leads to joint overuse injuries. However, in the past few years the running community has been split between the traditional camp of cushioning/stability running shoes, which are designed to correct an individual’s pronation (the body’s natural shock absorption mechanism) and the new concept of less is more in a shoe. Some believe that by correcting a runner’s natural pronation, you could potentially be making things worse. Although becoming increasingly discussed in the past few years, this is not a new idea. Does anyone remember Zola Budd running in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles?

Now, I am not suggesting that we all take up barefoot running. What am I suggesting is that before you go out and buy the new pair of shoes you are yearning for, have you answered yes to these five questions?

1. Are they designed with your sport in mind?

2. Do they fit?

3. Are you buying them for the right reasons (not just because they are the most expensive and therefore must be the best for you)

4. Do some research – if you are a runner - which camp are you in? Are you happy or is it time to change strategies and try something new?

5. Can you try them on and perhaps have a run in them on a treadmill in the shop? Are they comfortable?

Choose your route carefully

This may sound like Mum being over-cautious, however, it is an important point and something that isn’t always considered when we head off for exercise. Firstly, of course, make sure you stick to areas that are well-lit, open and safe. Secondly, have an idea in your mind as to how long you intend to exercise for and plan your route accordingly. You do not want to end up five miles from home having run in a straight line and then have to make it all the way back again. In addition, think about the terrain you are going to be crossing – are there trip or slip hazards which could cause injury and, if so, are you aware of their location, or is there a safer route to take?

What are you exercising on?

Some people find that running or walking on hard surfaces such as pavement and roads alone causes problems with their frame because of the high impact. It can help to vary the terrain between roads and other surfaces such as grassland, unpaved paths, woodland and so on, which have more ‘give’ and therefore put less stress on the joints.

Contact Us

We look forward to helping you with your physiotherapy needs, tailored to your personal circumstances, through 2021 and beyond. If you are interested in our services feel free to call us on 07309 272 555 or email Life Made Simple - expert physiotherapy in Guildford and Surrey.

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