Monday, October 14, 2013

Shoes with high shock attenuation do not prevent running related injuy: New Study



According to many advertising claims soft soles in running shoes can prevent injury,but researchers from France and Luxembourg found no evidence suggesting the hardness of a person’s footwear increases or decreases the risk of running-related injuries. Experts from the Luxembourg Public Research Centre for Health’s Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg Sports Clinique, and Oxylane Research in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France describe a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial probing the impact of a runner’s shoes on their running-related injury (RRI) risk in a recent paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Nearly 250 runners were provided with standard running shoes possessing either a soft study shoes (soft-SS) midsole or a hard study shoes (hard-SS) midsole. The researchers then tracked those runners for a period of five months, collecting information about their running habits and their injuries via a dedicated online platform. RRI was defined using two criteria. It had to be any type of first-time pain that was sustained during or directly as a result of running, and it had to cause enough harm that it would prevent a study participant from engaging in his or her regular running activity for at least one day. The study authors found while factors such as an individual’s body weight and overall fitness level did have an impact on injury rates, the amount of padding in a runner’s shoes did not. The author’s concluded the results do not support the common argument from the running shoe industry that runners with higher body mass should be recommended shoes with greater shock-absorption characteristics. The results of this study suggest running style and other personal factors outweigh shoe qualities in determining injury risk. Individuals tend to adapt their running style based on the pattern of how their feet strike the surface. Although the study did not analyze this factor, the authors think this adaptation cancels out the shock-absorbing characteristics of the soft-cushioned shoes.

Further Reading

Theisen D, Malisoux L, Genin J, Delattre N , Seil R, Urhausen A 2013 Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk Br J Sports Med Published Online First: 16 September 2013 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092613.

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