Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Why Aren't Shoes Preventing Running Injuries?"

Good question.
"Barefoot running shoes and shoes with extra cushioning seek to protect runners—but despite all the new technology, running injuries are no less common than they were 30 years ago."
Most runners are still running in the same sort of shoes that they've been wearing for the last 30 years. It shouldn't be surprising that we're seeing the same outcome, if we assume that running shoes can affect injury rates.
"In the past 30 years running has changed from something done by trained runners who competed for sport, to an activity that is enjoyed by the masses."
This is silly. I'm pretty sure that "the masses" have been running for a long, long time. As this account makes clear, foot racing has long been a regular part of recreation:
"The Clary Grove boys, the Island Grove boys, the Sangamon River boys and the Sand Ridge boys, each designated by the part of the country from which they came, would gather there to indulge in horse racing, foot racing, wrestling, jumping, ball playing and shooting at a mark."
So it's a typically weak article on the topic, but he at least gets points for quoting Jay Dicharry and Dan Lieberman, and mentioning Born to Run.
"Confronted with the baffling array of running shoes, the prevailing wisdom seems to be to pick a shoe that fits your running style, not to hope a shoe will change you."
Of course the high-heeled cushioned sneakers that most all wear today were created to do exactly that:
"...Over the next 40 years, we have seen the height as well as the cushion gradually increase. These developments inadvertently made runners adopt a “heel to toe” gait or “heel strike” when running. Bowerman and W.E. Harris authored a primer entitled Jogging: A [Medically Approved] Physical Fitness Program for All Ages in 1967. In this very popular book, they noted the most efficient way to run should be landing or striking on the heel first. The authors specifically stated that forefoot striking is incorrect and not the proper way to land.

"Bowerman and Harris had no scientific basis for this explanation. Several years later, they went on to create a running shoe that contained a cushioned heel...."

That shoe was Nike.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tuck!

    And of the folks who have tried minimalist footwear in recent years, how many did not learn of or heed the call to transition slowly to allow foot and leg muscles and tendons to strengthen -- resulting in injury and erroneous blame on the shoes.

    When I was 5 I tried cross country skis for the first time. Naturally I picked the biggest hill I could see and started up it, fell down, got very frustrated and threw a tantrum. "These skis don't work!," I declared. My parents laughter heartily at me, as we should laugh heartily at the runners blaming their minimalist shoes for their lack of knowledge.

    Wearing high-heeled, cushioned, supportive running shoes is like wearing noise-canceling headphones and earplugs while trying to learn to play a musical instrument. There is a complete, and necessary sense missing from the learning process and the result will not be pretty, though pretty predictable.