Running is a natural gesture but its repetition thousands of times tests the cushioning capacity and stability of the foot. Preventing adverse conditions is easy if you know how.
Do you comply with the 10,000 daily steps recommended by health authorities? If so, throughout your life you will take between 100 and 200 million strides and you will end up traveling a distance equivalent to four times around the world. Pretty much if you are a runner. Many parts of the body are involved in the race process (the brain as a foreman, the arms to propel, the abdomen to stabilize, the knees, the thighs and the twins to generate the movement …), but the support lies solely with a Foot at every step. And at top speed, the impact is multiplied by four. If you weigh 150 lbs, every time you hit the ground, your support foot supports 600 pounds! In a marathon, for example, they reach an average of 27,000 strides. The total impacts will add tons. So the slightest failure can be fatal. “The foot is an architecturally complex structure. It has 88 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons. Not only is it there to hold us upright. Hold our weight and distribute the impact of each step on the body as a shock absorber. A bad step will be a movement that we will repeat millions of times and, in the long run, can end up in injury. Not only of the foot itself, but of superior structures such as the knees, the hip or the spine” explains podiatrist Víctor Alfaro. This foot professional and co-founder of Podoactiva is one of the experts in sports podiatry most reputed internationally. Take care of the feet of the Real Madrid footballers, the athletes of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation and many celebrities forced to spend too many hours without sitting. A huge experience that pours into the book everything starts with a step (Encourage), already become a reference for runners and athletes in general.
FROM HEELS TO RUNNING SHOES
One of the usual problems of popular runners is that they spend many hours perched on high heels. At the end of the day, with the exhausted musculature, they descend suddenly from a height of 10, 8 or 6 centimeters to fit the running shoes. This gesture, apparently simple, involves an aggression against the muscles of the leg. “With the heels we raise the heel a lot with respect to the toe. It’s what slang is called “having a lot of drop,” says Alfaro. In that forced posture, the Achilles tendon, hamstrings, solos and twins shorten. When we put on the shoe, that unevenness disappears, but the muscles do not grow suddenly.
On the contrary, he will be pulling more because you are forcing him into a posture that demands more length.
It is a situation of enormous tension that exponentially increases the chances of overload or breakage,” explains the specialist. When for work reasons there is nothing left but to wear a heeled shoe, Alfaro recommends making small stops to stretch the muscles. “Barefoot and take a few steps without shoes will prevent that shortening of the posterior muscle chain of the leg,” he adds. The idea may seem somewhat crazy, but it is nothing but the advice that doctors reiterate: do muscle movements and stretching throughout the day, not only during the time we are in the gym.
Women, as girls, are taught to be flirtatious. And to love heels over other shoes. You have those at work, those at weddings, sandals to go to the terrace, those so daring for the night … Instead, we believe that some shoes are worth everything. “Bad footwear – sports or street – is lethal to health: from painful chafing to imbalances in other joints. It is preferable to have little footwear, but quality. And more, when it comes to the shoe to make an impact sport, as is the case of running,” adds the podiatrist.
BAD DECISIONS THAT COME OUT OF FACES
From his experience, Alfaro is used to seeing runners with problems in the feet, knees or back in his office whose origin is in a wrong decision with the running shoe. The beginners own is to buy the cheapest in the market, although their benefits are limited, with the idea of switching to a superior if the run does not hook them. Another mistake is to run with those old shoes at home. “And there is another very frequent one: to believe that a sneaker has universal use, that the same goes for zumba than for running. It is not like that,” he says. “The dance ones are designed soft so that the foot can move freely, so you can make twists and twists without limits. But to run we need just the opposite. A shoe with little cushioning, poor stability and until it perspires will increase the risk of blisters, sprains and other local motor system problems. When this happens, the answer is usually to believe that running is bad, that it is not for us and dislike it. The Running is not an expensive sport. Running on the street is free. Clothes may be better or worse, but shoes are crucial,” he says.
The choice of the shoe should not be done in a hurried way. You have to take time, try several and have the advice of a professional. “My recommendation is to go to a specialized store where a sales clerk who knows about running will guide you on some of the models that best fit your needs. Go without hurry, forget about modesty and try many. Without fear: tie your laces and stride around the store to see if they tighten at some point, if we notice something strange on the floor … What is unethical, and is happening, is to throw half an hour in an establishment trying on shoes , write down the reference and then buy it online to save 15 euros. What you save is what the advice costs. So your part of the deal should be to buy it at the establishment where they have guided you for the purchase. ” Now, the shoe does not solve it or avoid everything. There are peculiarities of the tread that are only solved with an individualized template. “It will save us many hours of pain, physiotherapist sessions and discomfort to see that the results in the race are not all the good we expected for not having an efficient footprint.”
IT IS BETTER PREVENT
It is one thing to take a race to catch the bus and another to run several days a week. “Before embarking on training with a certain level of demand, two fundamental organs must be checked: the heart and the foot. For the first is the stress test. For the second, a bio mechanical study of gait. ” This is the great tool of current podiatry. Compared to the old methods in which only the foot at rest was analyzed on a surface with mirrors, the new technologies with high-speed cameras allow studying the entire range of foot movements in the race, from resting on the ground until it takes off. “Any fault, however small, can be detected. And remedy it. ” With the results, engineers build a specific template for running. “It can be thought of as a luxury, which is only for professionals. It’s not like that. The bio mechanical study is only 50 euros. And a template ranges from 120 to 210 euros. With warranty included. If the client does not feel at ease, it is modified as many times as necessary and as quickly as possible. We are used to working with soccer players and elite athletes. Their patience with something that does not work for them is close to zero. And we apply that same level of demand to the street customer. It is our mark of difference,” concludes Al-faro.
Becomes “prone or supine?
The mythical question of “do you study or work?” Becomes “prone or supine?” As soon as someone finds out that you like to run. The pro-nation is the movement by which the foot tends to move the load inwards, that is, to flatten. The supination is just the opposite: to move the load of the foot towards the external zone. “Both movements are normal in a person who walks well.
90% of people naturally say when we take our feet off the ground and suppose to support it,” says Alfaro. A study of the tread done in the store by a person who is not a podiatrist can make us buy a shoe with excessive pronation control. “If we suspect having a pronation problem, the ideal is to go to a podiatrist, undertake a complete bio-mechanical study and, if necessary, perform a personalized plantar support (a template) to introduce into a neutral shoe.” What happens if we save the workforce for a pronator shoe? “That excess control limits the movement of the foot and, therefore, we derive an excess load to other structures, such as the knee.”
THE BEST WAY TO CHOOSE A SHOE
- ANALYZE. Calculate how many miles you run throughout the week and by what type of surface (the mountain has irregular terrain, the asphalt is very hard, and the sand makes bouncing difficult …). Include your weight in the equation and also if you had any previous injuries.
- THE MODEL. Forget about brands, colors and even prices. It is not a matter of aesthetics. The chosen shoe should be the right one for your foot.
- THE SIZE. Try them in the afternoon. The foot will be more dilated and you will save chafing by buying a too tight number. Move your foot to the toe. If you can comfortably pass a finger between the heel and the buttress, you will be right with the size.
- SPECIALIZED TRADE. The clerk knows at the bottom everything in the market, the technical specifications of each model and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
- DRESS OF ‘RUNNER’. You need to value the sensations in the most real way possible. Wear running clothes and your usual technical socks.
- DUPLICATE. Have at least two pairs of shoes in use and wear them. Materials need a recovery time after each use. Dr. Aitor Pérez, a podiatrist responsible for Podoactiva Alicante, has concluded that using only one pair increases the chances of injury by 52%.
- TO THE GARBAGE. The life of a running shoe ranges between 200 and 400 miles. They seem many, but if you train regularly they can only be a few months.
- REPEAT. If a model is doing well, you need to renew and stay in the market, buy it again. Do you prefer an online store? Make sure the material is authentic. Also check that it is the same version of your old shoe (brands periodically release improved versions that you may not like).