Running Injuries-Foot Type & Footwear

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 34,298
    Running Form Expert Danny Abshire discusses the various foot types and proper footwear for running.

    Danny Abshire: Okay, hello! I am Danny Abshire from Boulder, Colorado. I have been building foot supports for 20 years at Active Imprints, the store here that we have specialized in running shoes and Orthotics. So we are going to talk about foot type and how important it is for you to know your individual foot types or your foot type and the problems that could be associated with that, because there are some natural problems of overpronating or oversupernating that can lead into running injury.

    So lets talk about your foot type. First, there is four basic groups. You have a very flat foot type, thats probably on one extreme. The foot is extremely flat on to the ground, you probably know if you have that. You step out of the pool and you have this big flat print on the ground as you walk across the concrete.

    Number two is a mild pronator, a person who has an arch but as they weight the foot, it collapses inward and causes the knee and the hip to rotate a small amount and that's a pretty majority of people actually in this stability category or this mild pronation category. You can get that from many different things. The flat foot and the mild pronator can get problems such as Plantar Fasciitis from the arch collapsing too much, they pull on the Plantar Fascia and attaches to the heel, rotation of the heel bone where you can have an Achilles problem because you dont have too much power to push off with because of this inward rotation. You can also have medial knee pain because as your foot collapses, the knee rotates inward or shin sprints are very common with that. Iliotibial band, because as the foot collapses inward and knee tracks inward, then the IT band gets strained as well. The foot type along with improper running form can cause tons of injuries. So those are the major injuries for a flatter foot person or a pronator, very common.

    Then neutral foot type is right in the middle of this, sort of, linear scale. If you are neutral, your foot is not too high arched or too flat, you dont roll in too far inward or too far outward, thats rolling in or out, supernating or pronating. So that neutral foot type can wear a neutral shoe and we will get into that in just a second and that's the shoe that's not supported on the either side. Then on the far end of this linear scale, the supernators, completely very high arched, very rigid foot. Lacks the ability to pronate. Pronation is actually a pretty good word, its not a bad word. Its the ability to rotate slightly inward which absorbs some shock as your foot is getting locked up to propel. Pronation is actually a good thing, too much of it causes problems, not enough of it causes problems. So the supernator who doesnt have pronation lands on the outside of their foot, he has a very high rigid arch, the heel is slightly, typically, elevated. So they run more to the outside of the foot. So those problems are going to be lateral ankle pain, lateral knee pain, iliotibial band pain and heel pain.

    So the shoes that -- knowing that and understanding your foot type, these categories and definitely consult your local running store, they will help you understand your foot type to get in the right shoe. You can also consult your Podiatrist and Orthopedist, if you have more severe problems, and if you have a lot of injury occurring through your foot type, they can help you with a custom support or an Orthotic to help balance your foot inside the footwear. But knowing your footwear first and then buying running footwear to meet the needs of you feet. One of the first things and most important thing to do is find a shoe that fits your foot shape comfortably.

    So if you have a flatter arch, usually a motion control shoe fits that better because its a little bit straighter and elastic, it has a straighter line down the arch line, which accommodates a flatter foot. If you are a stability needs person, again thats a pretty large category. If you have a decent arch with mild pronation or inward collapse, you want a shoe that fits the shape of your foot but has a little support on the medial side. Its called posting or medial posting and that has a harder foam on the arch side of the shoe which keeps you from collapsing as quickly. You can also do over the counter arch supports which help in just stabilizing the foot as well for that foot type. In a neutral foot type, typically, the arch is not too high or too low, you can go on to a neutral shoe, that's a shoe thats balanced equally, its not pushing you in or out or not hardened with posting on the medial side, just a neutral mid-sole which allows your foot to track straight down the middle of the foot line. It doesnt influence you to go one way or the other because your foot is already going that way. You are a lucky person.

    Now with that, those of are the four major foot types and the shoes that correspond with that. The fourth one is supernation. Because the supernation population is not that great, there is not many people in the world that truly supernate, you would go into the neutral category which is predominantly cushion category. So your foot with a lack of pronation or this natural ability to absorb the shock, you need a shoe that allows you a greater amount of shock absorption. So typically, a cushion category or a neutral category is what you will be going into.

    Remember, if you are having a lots of injuries and you feel that they are localized to the foot, ankle and lower leg, you probably have too much motion going on with your biomechanics and you should probably consult an Orthopedist or Podiatrist, a Physical Therapist, even a Chiropractor about your foot type and get your foot leveled off with a support and then restart your program after your rehabilitation of that injury. So now we are going to talk about flexibility, so we will move on to the next slide. Thank you.