Running is a great form of exercise but can be hard on the feet, knees and hips. The most important equipment choice that runners can make to help limit injuries is in picking out the right shoes. One common thought in running shoes is that since runners tend to run on hard surfaces, having extra cushioning in the shoe will help limit injuries. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that extra cushioning does not help limit injuries, as detailed in this article from October 11.
The study was conducted by the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory of the Department of Public Health in Luxembourg and consisted of 247 runners. The runners were all between 30 and 50 years old, had normal to slightly overweight body mass indexes. Each runner ran at least 10 miles per week.
The runners were given shoes with different levels of cushioning that was calculated to be about 15 percent. The runners trained at least once per week for five months with their assigned shoes. They were also required to post all relevant information about their running during that time, including any injuries that they experienced. “Injury” was defined as any pain that lasted for at least one day.
The results of the study showed that there was no significance in the injuries suffered between the two types of shoes. However, the results did show that heavier runners where 13 percent more likely to suffer injuries than lighter runners. Those runners with an injury history were also more likely to suffer injuries than those with no history of injury.
What this all adds up to is that running is an individual sport and individual factors, such as size and experience, are the biggest factors that determine whether a runner will suffer injuries. There is no one best shoe or even best stride type. Runners should work to find the right type of shoe and style of running that works for them.