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Running Shoes: Basic Guidelines

People run for many different reasons. For some, it gives them a positive

energy boost, and it’s an ideal way to keep their weight in check. For others,

it’s the buzz of competition, or quite simply, because they enjoy it.

One of the first steps to healthy running is wearing supportive running

shoes. Neglecting to wear proper footwear can lead to a variety of foot

problems that can cause injury and impede performance.

To find the best running shoe, you must first determine your foot type. Are

you a pronator or a supinator, or do you have neutral feet? Pronators have

relatively flat feet, leading to overpronation (gait in which the ankle rolls

inward excessively). Supinators have high arches, leading to underpronation

(gait in which too much weight is placed on the outside of the feet).

And finally, if you have neutral feet, you have a foot that is in-between a

flat-foot and high arch.

For assistance in determining your foot type, consult a podiatric physician.

Your podiatrist will perform a gait analysis and provide suggestions about

the best running shoe for your foot type. Taking the “wet test” is another

way to determine your foot type. To take this simple test, wet the bottom

of each of foot and stand normally on a paper bag. After a minute, step off

and observe the imprint left by your foot.



Follow these basic guidelines for successful running shoe shopping:

✓ Have your feet measured while you’re standing

✓ Always try on both shoes and test your running shoes while still in the


 ✓ Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day

 ✓ Buy shoes that don’t pinch your toes, either at the tips, or across the toe


 ✓Wear or buy the socks you’ll wear when you run

 ✓ If you wear orthotics, bring them. You need to see how the shoe fits

with the orthotic inside.

 ✓ People who are pronators (low/flat arch) should choose a supportive

shoe designed for stability and motion control. These shoes help to correct

 for overpronation.

 ✓ People who have a neutral arch should choose a shoe with equal

amounts of stability and cushioning to help absorb shock

 ✓ People who are supinators (high arch)  should choose a cushioned running shoe with a softer midsole and more flexibility. These features will compensate for the poor shock absorption of a high-arched foot

If you suffer from bunions, finding the right running shoe may be a

little tricky, but it can be done. Look for shoes that provide soft mesh at

the sides for more comfort and cushioning, a wide toe box, and a snug

heel for stability.

Looking for a pair of running shoes that fit your feet? View a complete list

of shoes and products with APMA’s Seal of Acceptance. Go to

and click on “Learn About Feet”
Arthritis and Pain Management

If you have been diagnosed with

arthritis, or joint inflammation,

you know all too well the pain

associated with the disease.

There are several types of

arthritis, but the most common

form is osteoarthritis, or “wearand-

tear” arthritis. Also referred to as degenerative joint disease, it’s the breakdown of cartilage that cushions

the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. This breakdown causes the bones to rub against each

other, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of movement in the joint.

In the foot, osteoarthritis can affect any joint. Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis are tenderness or pain,

stiffness in the joint, swelling in the joint, and reduced ability to move, walk, or bear weight. Proper diagnosis,

early treatment, and pain management are all key factors in preventing joint deformity and disability.

Treatment entails taking medications for arthritis management. These medications include analgesics and

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. Analgesic

medications are commonly sold over the counter as Tylenol or acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is most

effective for mild to moderate pain. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory, painkilling, and fever-reducing properties.

Some common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin and Advil), naproxen, and prescription

medications such as Celebrex.

Experts are divided over the role of acetaminophen versus NSAIDs. Both are commonly prescribed for osteoarthritis

and both are equally effective for pain relief. Factors to consider when choosing either analgesics

or NSAIDs include cost, risks, and personal preference.

Other treatment options include steroid medications, pads or arch supports, inserts that support the

ankle and foot, physical therapy, custom orthotics, and surgery.

Here are a few foot care tips to consider for arthritis management:

✓Wear shoes that fit properly and feel comfortable


✓Wear shoes with more cushioning and rubber soles


✓ Perform exercises to help keep your feet pain-free, flexible, and strong:

o Achilles stretch–With your palms flat on a wall, lean against the wall and place one foot


forward and one foot back. Lean forward, leaving your heels on the floor. Repeat 3 times,


holding for 10 seconds on each side.


o Toe pull–Place a thick rubber band around the toes of each foot, and then spread your


toes. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat 10 more times.


o Toe curl– Pick up marbles or any small objects with your toes.


Consult your podiatrist to determine the best course of treatment for foot and ankle osteoarthritis.

Ouch! Shin Splints…Too Much, Too Soon

If you are an avid walker, have begun a new

exercise program, or are an experienced

runner, you may have experienced one of the

most common lower extremity ailments, shin

splints. Shin splints are characterized as pain

at the front inside area of the shin bone due

to overexertion of the muscles. Shin splints

usually involve small tears in the leg muscles

where they are attached to the shin bone.

The most common cause of shin splints is

inflammation of the periostium of the tibia

(sheath surrounding the bones). Some other

common causes include flat feet (overpronation),

a high arch (underpronation), inadequate

footwear, running on hard surfaces,

and increasing training too quickly.

Use the following tips to treat and prevent shin splints:

✓ For immediate pain relief:

o ice the area to reduce pain and inflammation;

o take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory

(e.g., ibuprofen); and

✓ rest to allow the injury to heal.

✓ Stretch and strengthen the leg muscles

✓Wear insoles or orthotics that offer arch support

✓ Make sure you have the right running shoe for your foot type and for the activity

✓ Avoid running on hard surfaces

✓ Shorten your stride

✓ Consult a podiatrist if your pain is really bad.

You should get a full diagnosis to find out if there is a stress fracture in the area.