Runners: Do You Need a Biomechanical Assessment for Your Feet?

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chiropody and orthotics

The most common cause of foot pain amongst runners is the choice of their running shoes. The wrong shoe will cause excessive movement in the feet, which causes micro-trauma to the skin, tendons, muscles and ligaments. This leads to small amounts of bleeding into the tissues, which causes pain, swelling and inflammation. Inappropriate footwear choice also puts you at risk of developing blisters and corns.

Many factors can contribute to pain and injury in the run. Many of these will lead you to see a podiatrist for further assessment and treatment.

The list below outlines some common causes of pain, as well as some common causes of injury in runners:

  • Heel pain:

Hammertoes (bent toes)

  • Ankle sprain/fracture/other injuries to the foot or ankle area (including stress fractures)
  • Shin splints: Plantar fasciitis 4) Achilles Tendinopathy 5) Runner’s Knee 6) Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 7) Thigh Strain 8 ) Back Pain 9 ) Other Common Running Injuries
  • Is it your feet?

Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. As you run, the cushioning and support in a shoe will break down and lessen the impact on your body. The less protection that is provided by the shoe, the greater chance of injury. Running shoes are expensive so take good care of them! 

If you have had a pair of running shoes for six months or more, replace them! You may think they are still fine, but they probably need to go away ASAP. For example, I’ve owned some Saucony Kinvara 7s for almost two years now, and if I don’t replace them soon, I am at risk of structural damage due to a lack of appropriate foot and ankle support.

The most common cause of foot pain amongst runners is the choice of their running shoes. The wrong shoe will cause excessive movement in the feet, which causes micro-trauma to the skin, tendons, muscles and ligaments. This leads to small amounts of bleeding into the tissues, which causes pain, swelling and inflammation. Inappropriate footwear choice also puts you at risk of developing blisters and corns.

  • Is it your biomechanics?

Biomechanical Assessment

Biomechanical assessments help identify structural and movement-related issues within your kinetic chain that may contribute to your pain. Imbalances, torn or weakened ligaments or improper movement patterns can all contribute to acute and long-term pain. It is a good idea to get a biomechanical assessment if you are having pain that is not going away or has been getting worse over time, even though you have treated it with conventional methods (e.g., stretching, massage). A biomechanical assessment can provide valuable information about how your foot strikes when running and suggest ways to change this with shoe modification or orthotics.

Biomechanics is a study of the forces that act on the body during movement – or how we move. Poor biomechanics in the foot and lower limb cause excessive loads across different structures, often leading to injury. Your feet are complex structures with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons – so many things that can move too much, causing them to become painful.

In this blog post, we will go through some key concepts to help you get started understanding what your foot needs from a running shoe fitting perspective.

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