How to Choose the Right Running Shoe to Help You Avoid Foot Pain

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on June 13, 2017

young man choosing a running shoeYour feet take a pounding every day. They bear the entire weight of the body with every step you take. As a runner, your feet experience even greater amounts of weight and force every time you take a stride forward. Having the right type of running shoe will prevent injuries and protect your feet and ankles from the constant stress they endure while you're out on the track or in the field. The key to eliminating foot pain is to make sure you have the right running shoe for your feet and your level of activity.

Know Your Size

Proper size is essential in a running shoe. You need them to fit comfortably without binding. When you try your shoes on, you should have a thumbnail's width between your toes and the front of your shoe. This gives enough room for your toes to flex comfortably without allowing your feet to slide from back to front and vice versa. They should also fit snugly over the top of your feet without placing too much pressure on the arches or the tops of your feet. 

Right Amount of Cushion

You will also need to determine how much cushion your feet need. There are several levels to choose from ranging from 1 to 5.

Level 1 cushioning provides very little padding and is almost the same as running barefoot.

Level 3 offers mid-range cushioning and is what many people like because it provides a more natural stepping motion.

Level 5 cushion offers the most cushion possible. It's ideal for running on hard surfaces and protects your feet from continually hitting the pavement with your entire weight. The cushion acts as a shock absorber and absorbs the force of the body as it lands with each step.

Arch Type

Your arch type should also be considered. If you have an extremely high arch, your feet will not need as much support as someone who has a very flat arch. A high arch means that the majority of your weight will land on the outer edge of the foot. A flatter arch causes the entire foot to bear the weight of the body.

Higher arches don't flex as much as a lower arch, therefore they are more stable and less likely to cause you to lose control. A person with low arches will need a running shoe that supports the foot and acts as a stabilizer with each step that is taken. This prevents injuries to the ankles and will reduce the risk of inflammation and foot pain.

Proper Support

When you're discussing the proper fit for a running shoe, support is a primary concern. Your arch will play a significant role in determining how much support you will need to prevent injuries and keep foot pain at bay.

The bottom of the foot has distinctive curves and valleys aside from the main arch. The heel and the ball of the foot bear the majority of the weight as you run. The cushion in your shoe will absorb the majority of the shock each time your foot connects with the ground.

Your shoe must also support your foot as it pushes off for the next step. This type of support is what prevents injuries of the feet and ankles. Support also involves maintaining stability as the foot shoves off for the next step.

The sole of the shoe offers both stability and support with each step, protecting the feet from sliding and the ankles from shifting unnaturally.

A New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare can help you find out what type of running shoe best suits your needs. A shoe that fits poorly or doesn't offer the needed support can result in an injury. It can also lead to foot pain and discomfort if your foot must learn to adapt to an unnatural fit.

The perfect running shoe should conform easily to your foot, provide the maximum amount of support both to the arch, as well as to other areas of the feet, and should offer maximum stability. Choosing the right running shoe will allow you to put your best foot forward every time you set out for a run through the park.  At Nagy Footcare, our best day is the day you wake up with no foot pain.

 

5 Reasons Runner Shouldn't Ignore Their Foot Pain- eBook

Topics: Running

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