Dr. Brian Nagy | February 13th, 2018
Running is such great exercise and some days there is nothing better than lacing up your shoes and hitting the trail or road. But sometimes running hurts and there’s nothing worse than foot pain while running. While sometimes it’s your diet, being dehydrated, or not getting enough sleep, other times it’s the alignment of your feet and ankles. And often, old and worn out running shoes don’t provide enough support for the stress and pressure running puts on your feet.
So how do you know when it’s time for new shoes?
Obviously, if your feet and ankles hurt when you run it’s time to get new running shoes but what are the earlier warning signs that tell you to replace your shoes before your feet start to hurt.
Running shoes should last for about 500 miles, maybe a little less if you’re overweight or run on uneven surfaces. When the support in the soles of shoes start to break down, your foot is more likely to shift or slide while you run, which puts stress on inappropriate parts of your feet and ankles with every stride. Trying to squeeze a few more months or miles out of your shoes to save money will cost you in the long run.
Take a look at the treads of your running shoes. Is it worn out? Is the wear uneven? The treads of your shoes are designed to last longer than the insoles, so if the exterior of your shoes is worn out, the interior is too. On another note, if the wear is uneven, heavier on the outsides of the heels, for example, this is a sign of overpronation. Overpronation often indicates an alignment issue.
If you can twist your shoes, they’ve lost the ability to support your feet sufficiently while you run. Unless you wear minimalist running shoes, you shouldn’t be able to hold the toe and heel of your shoe and twist.
Your feet and ankles bear the brunt of your body weight with every step you take. When you run, that pressure increases by three or four times. When you consider that your average 5k run requires between 7,000-8,000 foot strikes, that’s a lot of stress on your feet. If your feet aren’t properly supported when you run, you can injure yourself. Injuries may be acute like an ankle sprain or your injury may slowly develop over time, which is much more likely.
Running is great for your health but puts a lot of stress on your feet. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine has some great training tips to help you avoid some of the complications listed below.
When you run and your feet aren’t supported correctly, the excess stress can cause inflammation and swelling in your tendons, also called tendinitis. Tendinitis is painful and can cause mobility issues. It can also cause radiant pain in neighboring muscles and tendons.
Misalignment of your ankles is often caused by inflamed or overstretched tendons pulling your bones out of their correct positions. This is not only painful when you walk or run, but can lead to additional alignment and inflammation, for example, in your plantar fascia or shins.
In addition to misaligned ankles, the pressure from the thousands of foot strikes in running puts a lot of stress on your plantar fascia, causing inflammation and a sharp pain in your heel.
The muscles that run along your shin pull your foot up and down. The stress of running can cause micro-tears, resulting in the burning sensation you know as shin splints. When your ankles are misaligned, their movement is encumbered, making the pain worse.
Many of these issues are connected. If your running shoes aren’t supportive, then you put yourself at risk of injuries and alignment issues. If your ankles become misaligned, then other painful issues develop. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain, so we offer innovative treatments like HyProCure® to correct alignment issues.
HyProCure® is a small metal cylinder that is placed in your ankle to keep the bones in correct alignment. The procedure is done in the office and takes less than an hour. You will need to take a little time to rest after the HyProCure® procedure, but you’ll be back to running in no time, without the foot pain.