How long do running shoes last?
Whether you are a casual walker, doing your next boot camp or training for a marathon it is important to have the correct footwear to prevent injury.
Running in old or worn-out shoes can lead to discomfort and injuries. Over time, your running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning, and stability. When you run in worn-out shoes, your musculoskeletal alignment changes regarding the way both your feet and legs function. This altered movement places specific load on the structures in your feet and legs which increases the stress and impact on bones, tendon, muscle and ligaments which can cause overuse injuries as well as just general aches and pains.
Some examples of common injuries can include:
Plantar fasciitis/ (heel pain) WHAT IT IS:
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a fibrotic band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel bone to the toes. This tissue can become inflamed for many reasons, most commonly from irritation by placing too much stress (excess running and jumping) on the bottom of the foot.
Achilles tendinopathy WHAT IT IS:
Achilles tendinopathy is an ailment that accounts for many running injuries, Achilles tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the lower calf that attaches to the back of the heel. The condition is often caused by lack of flexibility and excessive pronation.
Morton’s neuroma WHAT IT IS:
Morton’s neuroma is often described by runners as a burning, stinging pain in the forefoot (commonly between the third and fourth toes). Other symptoms include pain in the ball of the foot and a feeling of “pins and needles” and numbness in the toes. Runners who wear tight-fitting footwear often experience this condition. A true neuroma is a benign tumour of the nerve, although entrapment of the nerve will give the same symptoms.
Stress Fracture WHAT IT IS:
Stress fractures in the lower limbs are common among athletes in general and are commonly caused by repetitive forces on these areas. Symptoms include localized pain, swelling or night pain that grows worse over time. Stress fractures can occur over a period of days, weeks, or even months.
Shin Splints WHAT IT IS:
Shin splints also referred to as “tibial stress syndrome,” shin splints affect runners of all ages and are commonly experienced as a shooting pain felt near the front or sides of one or both tibia bones (the shins).
You may also need new shoes more often if you have an uneven gait.
Signs You Should Replace Your Shoes
A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes:
- General everyday use (12months)
- Heavy active use (3-6 months)
Here are some indicators that it is probably time for a new pair of running shoes:
High Mileage on Your Shoes
In addition to tracking the number of kilometres you have on your shoes, where you run is also an important consideration. If you run on rough roads or trails, you’ll need to replace your shoes sooner than if you do primarily treadmill running.
Pain When Running
If you’ve been feeling muscle fatigue, shin splints, or some pain in your joints — especially your knees — you may be wearing shoes that have lost their cushioning.
If you are experiencing pain even if your shoes are relatively new, you should consult your podiatrist to advise on shoe choice, and possible gait problems.
Poor Shock Absorption
If you feel like you can feel the impact of every step in your feet, knees, and hips, it means that the shock absorption in your shoes has deteriorated. Running is a high-impact sport, check the shoe by the bend test. Hold both ends of the shoe and bend it back on itself. If you can easily do this the midsole of the shoe has become worn and compressed and lacks any cushioning properties.
One tell-tale sign that you need new running shoes is if the treads, especially on the soles, have worn, or if the wear is uneven. If your tread wear pattern indicates a possible gait issue, this may require further assessment of your biomechanics.
- Excessive wear on the front part of your shoe can be a sign of overpronation, which means your foot is turning too far inward as you take each step.
- If you spot excessive wear on the outside edges of your shoe, it is a sign of under pronation (supination). This means that your foot shifts outward with each step, placing the brunt of the impact on the outer bones of your foot.
Newer Shoes Just Feel Better
Your overall comfort when running is important and wearing comfortable shoes helps runners maintain proper form and movement when running, which in turn helps minimize injury risk. If you still feel that after new shoes your running or walking gait doesn’t feel correct, AMA Podiatry can offer some direction with either a biomechanical assessment, or video gait analysis at the clinic.
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