It's all about the roll when choosing running shoes

Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:05pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fitness experts have long advised clients choosing a running shoe to forget fashion and consider the roll or pronation - the way the foot leans inward upon impact.

Analyzing the roll of the foot remains standard practice among fitness and medical professionals in the belief it will lead to a better shoe fit and fewer injuries.

"When it comes to shoe choice, the amount of pronation control is extremely important," said Dr. Jane Andersen, a podiatrist in private practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"Some people need more than others. It can cause a lot of problems if you have the wrong one."

Anderson, a runner herself and past president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists, said the No. 1 cause of the overuse injuries she sees, from stress fractures to tendonitis to Plantar fasciitis (heel pain), is shoes that are worn out or the wrong fit.

There are three basic levels of control for standard running shoes: neutral, stability and motion control.

"Neutral is generally good for a high-arch foot; it doesn't provide extra control for pronation," she said. "The stability shoe works for people who need more support; motion control is for the super flat-footed."

At Jack Rabbit Sports store in New York City, clients' arches are observed before they hit the treadmill for runs that are videotaped for slow-motion analysis.   Continued...

Mud flies off a competitor's shoes as he runs out of an obstacle during the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow in West Dover, Vermont July 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi