Whether you run for recreation or are an athlete, understanding the physics of running and the importance of supportive running shoes will ensure a lifetime of running happiness. Let your chiropractor help you get the most of your activity and reduce the possibility of injuries or discomfort.
Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. In the U.S. alone, 60 million Americans reported participating in some form of running every year. Like any exercise, proper form and function are essential to keep you safe and able to run for many years. Chiropractic care is all about ensuring the body you have is functioning properly. The mechanics behind running are interesting – especially if one considers all the forces a runner must defeat. There are three primary gravitational forces at play when someone runs.
A runner has to overcome the vertical force to accelerate horizontally, and to leave the ground in a true run, the runner has to overcome the force of gravity. The force that propels the runner is aptly called the propulsive force. A runner’s speed is directly related to the explosiveness of this propulsion. For example, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt can push off with a peak force of 1,000 pounds nearly double that of the average person.
One of the most interesting aspects of running is the amount of time the runner’s feet actually contact the ground. Remember, a runner does have to compete with gravity and you can truly defy gravity for a portion of the running cycle. An average sprinter’s foot makes contact with the ground for only .12 seconds! For an Olympic sprinter, it’s about .08 seconds!
Doctors of chiropractic know that the vertical force of a runner’s feet on pavement can be anywhere from five to 12 times one’s body weight. That’s why chiropractors will tell those who like to run for exercise to select proper footwear.
Yes, Talk With Your Chiropractor About Running Shoes
Shoes with the right supportive foundation for you helps your body absorb and distribute that additional weight and pressure. Choosing the right shoes is a combination of a runner’s foot type, arch height, and “wear-ability.” As an expert in musculoskeletal function, conditions, and problems, your doctor of chiropractic can help prevent injuries that sometimes result from the forces generated while running. For proper fit and continued good health, here are the three main things to consider:
1. Examine Your Foot Shape
Look at the bottom of your running shoe. The wear on your shoe will likely reveal your foot type.
2. Know Your Arch Type
This is best described as how the shoes feel. Properly breaking in new running shoes can prevent injuries such as blisters. If you can, try out new shoes on a treadmill. Running poor-fitting new shoes can cause changes to your gait that can lead to longer-term injuries. With little guidance from your chiropractor, you can determine which type of running shoe might be best for you, based on what you discover. Among the options:
Stability shoes are better for runners with normal arches and only mild control problems. The extra stability from these shoes comes from extra arch-side supports and high-density foam. Stability shoes typically have built a gentle arch from front to back that provides rear-foot stability and forefoot flexibility.
Motion Control Shoes
Motion-control shoes are great for flat-footed and heavy runners, who tend to overpronate. These shoes typically have rigid devices made of plastic, fiberglass, or high-density foam. The arch area on motion control shoes is filled in to increase stability. The extra rigidity prevents the heel from turning out and the foot from overpronating.
Cushioning shoes are good for people with high arches and rigid feet who tend to underpronate. This highly flexible shoe is constructed on a curve, and its lightweight materials provide minimal rigidity with optimal cushioning.
CUKC Chiropractic Health Center
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health science-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.