With Run Melbourne just around the corner and the Melbourne Marathon later in the year, many of our clients are starting to ramp up their training programs in preparation for these two events, among others.

The health benefits of running are widely acknowledged, however it is also important to understand that just by running you are increasing your risk of injury.

The everyday recreational runner, completing 20-30km per week of running, is at risk of sustaining 1 to 2 running related injuries (RRI) per year, novice runners can be as high as 3 injuries per year.

This may appear insignificant but if this injury occurs during a training program for your event it can severely hamper the enjoyment you get from training for and participating in these events.

The incidence of RRI has not changed over the past twenty years despite the increase in shoe technology; understanding of physiology related to exercise and improved understanding of factors that affect RRI.

We here at Viva Physiotherapy are frequently asked what shoe type do I need to use for running?

How can I prevent running injuries?

Hopefully I can arm you with the appropriate information to help you tackle what can be both a challenging and rewarding task.

Firstly let’s discuss the effect of shoe / foot type in relation to RRI.

Given the myriad of options of shoes available and all the marketing hype surrounding certain shoe types, most recently Barefoot Running, this can be quite a daunting task.

Unfortunately the majority of the research shows that currently there is no evidence to suggest that shoe type is a factor in preventing or altering the likelihood of injury in relation to running.

So the take-home point from this is that when choosing a shoe, find one that:

  • feels comfortable to you
  • that will suit the terrain you will be running on
  • or potentially you have worn before and found comfortable

Current research suggests that the main cause of RRI is the imbalance between load and time for recovery; put simply – too far, too fast and too often without allowing the body to adapt to the new loads.

The key to having an injury-free program is to ensure that we are giving the body a number of different stimuli (i.e., different surfaces, distances, speeds, terrain etc.) and adequate rest/recovery.

The best way to do this is to monitor what we do during each run and by sticking to a training program – this allows both sufficient loads to promote adaptation (i.e. muscle strength / speed improvements) and adequate rest to allow the adaptation to occur.

Your physiotherapist is ideally placed to provide you with an appropriate program to ensure this, and is also able to manage you through the program from start to finish ensuring you meet or surpass your expectations.

There are a number of gadgets on the market, GPS units, Smart phone Apps etc, that are able monitor your training loads. The use of these can assist your physio in identifying the cause of your issues as they arise, with the aim to limit the negative effects of your injury.

Remember just by running you are at risk of injury therefore it is important to train smart so that when race day arrives you feel confident about your performance – making the event that much more rewarding.

Appropriate training plans and management of even small issues can aid in getting you to your race day in the best possible shape to smash your PB…

See you out there running…

Videbaek, S., Bueno, A.M., Nielson, R. O., ^ Rasmussen, S. (2015). Incidence of running-related injuries per 1000 hours of running in different types of runners: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med, Pub Online 8/5/2015 doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0333-8.
Bredeweg, S. (2014). Prevention of running related injuries. Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal Vol 3, Iss 2. July.
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