n International SportMed Journal - Does running shoe prescription alter the risk of developing a running injury? : original research article

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



<I>Background:</I> Currently, a large spectrum of running shoes is available to a runner. Running shoes are manufactured and marketed in various categories ranging from "motion control", "neutral", or "soft shockabsorbing" shoes. Runners, and health professionals advising them, are informed that the use of inappropriate footwear, not based on matching the appropriate shoe category to the lower limb alignment in runners, is linked to an increased risk developing a running injury. <BR><I>Objective:</I> The objective of this retrospective cohort study was to investigate whether runners, who had been advised on running shoes following a clinical lower limb biomechanical assessment prior to purchasing new running shoes, have a reduced risk of developing a running injury when compared to runners who have not been advised in this manner. <BR><I>Methods:</I> The Experimental Group consisted of 177 out of 400 randomly selected runners (44% response rate) from a potential list of 900 runners who had previously undergone a clinical lower limb biomechanical assessment followed by a running shoe prescription (EXP group = 94). A group of runners matched for age, height, weight and gender, who purchased running shoes through normal means were recruited as controls (CON group = 83). All the subjects completed a previously validated questionnaire that was designed to mainly document training history and running injury incidence (injuries per 100 running sessions) and injury type in the 12-month period following running shoe purchase. <BR><I>Results:</I> An analysis of training and racing history showed that the CON group did significantly more training sessions in the 12 months following shoe purchase. There was no significant difference in the groups with respect to weekly stretch sessions, use of orthotics, and frequency of training on different running surfaces. There was no significant difference in injury incidence between the groups (CON=6.71, EXP=6.04 injuries/100 sessions) or subgroups of runners in each group with either a past history of running injury or no past history. The incidence of specific common running injuries was not different between the groups. <BR><I>Conclusion:</I> A clinical lower limb biomechanical assessment, followed by running shoe purchase, does not reduce the risk of developing a running injury any more than following general advice on running shoe purchase.

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