Ten years ago I decided to run my first half marathon. I have never been much of a runner, so I wanted to challenge myself. I went straight to my local department store and bought a new pair of shoes and hit the pavement. After a few weeks, I started to notice some knee pain. It got worse as I went into longer runs and eventually my back started getting the aches as well. When the pain became too much, I went to see my physician. His first reaction was for me to buy new shoes and a pair of inserts. Could this really be the only reason for my excruciating pain?
I went to a running store and had my foot analyzed, ran on a treadmill, and tried on a new pair of kicks. I found the right fit according to the employees along with inserts for extra support. Then I went back to my training. The pain magically went away and I was able to complete my half marathon with ease.
Turns out, since I am a woman with hips, my knees were curving inwards as I ran. Without the extra support for my arch to straighten me out, it was causing the pain.
Moral of the story? Get the right shoes for you. Every activity requires a different type of footwear. Make sure that you are coordinating properly for your exercise whether it's in your corporate wellness center, or out in your neighborhood.
A few tips as you shop:
- Try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen
- Lace them properly to make sure the fit is not too loose or tight
- Stand on your toes to make sure your heel doesn’t pop out
- Wear socks you plan on exercising in to have the right thickness
What is your foot type? Normal, flat, or high-arched? What kind of stride do you have? Do you over pronate and roll your foot inward, or do you under pronate and not roll your foot in enough? Or is your stride normal? An employee at a fitness store near you will be able to help you get these answers and find the best fit. Make sure you run around the store to make sure it’s comfortable. Wiggle your toes and make sure you have enough room.
Try to avoid an all-purpose shoe. This won’t give you the right backing for each activity. Running, walking, hiking, and other sports all have different criteria and need different support. Having a proper shoe for each activity will help with comfort and prevent injuries and pain.
It is also important to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. Pay attention to how the shoe feels as you go. If you aren’t getting the same support, it might be time to get a new pair. It never hurts to have your foot analyzed each store visit and to try different shoe brands. They are constantly evolving with new options.
Lace up and be pain free!