Running for Exercise is a Good Idea That Often Turns Bad

shutterstock_129623Running is considered to be:

  • The most widespread individual sport
  • Good cardiovascular exercise
  • Great calorie burner
  • Inexpensive.

Sounds reasonable and logical, and that is the lure of running, but studies agree that at least 70 % of runners will injure. Some severely, while most will suffer more benign injuries that, if left untreated, can develop into life changing challenges.

Although the American College of Sports Medicine thinks it is good news that 77 % of people 24 to 44 claim to take up solo exercise like running, Posture Dynamics, the makers of ProKinetics Insoles, is hoisting the caution flag because there is much more to running than a $170 pair of shoes. “We don’t discourage running,” says Melady Svae, president of Posture Dynamics, “but if someone is planning to run for exercise, it should be a deliberate process.” Their advice would be to answer a few questions and perform a couple of check-ups.

Take a body inventory:.

1. Make certain past injuries and surgeries won’t become a problem. Consult the family doctor.

2. Check for problems running is known to exacerbate:.

a. Weak ankles and a history of ankle sprains is a path to serious injury.

b. Tight calf muscles is a positive sign of foot instability and muscle overuse. It is a perfect set-up for Morton’s Neuroma, shin splints and leg cramps.

c. Calluses on the balls of the feet behind the second toes are signs that the body weight is supported by the weaker second metatarsal instead of the stronger first. A set-up for stress fractures and serious ball-of-foot pain.

d. Extraordinary wear on the medial or lateral side or focused in the center ball-of-foot is a fair warning that running will not be a great experience.

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Start by forcing the knees to move straight forward over the middle of the feet

All these symptoms clearly demonstrate poor foot mechanics that is not ready to support vigorous walking let alone running. There is no need to see a specialist to determine why someone may experience these problems. Do a quarter knee bend by dropping the hips straight down 4-6 inches while keeping the heels on the floor and forcing the knees to move straight forward over the middle of the feet in alignment with the third toes on each side.

At that point, the first Metatarsal heads which form the balls of the feet behind the big toes should be on the ground and weight bearing. For a striking 80 % of the population, when performing this test, the first metatarsals will not be fully weight bearing when the legs are in proper alignment and set up for injury free running. Instead, in order to become weight bearing the knees have to move inward so the first metatarsal can get down to the ground. Foot and body mechanics goes south and running injuries are virtually guaranteed.

Knees have to move inward in order for the inside of the feet to become weight bearing

Knees have to move inward in order for the inside of the feet to become weight bearing

People respond differently to this challenge. Over 60 % of people who structurally over-pronate compensate by trying to favor the outside of their feet so they supinate instead. A smaller percentage follow their structure and rotate their feet outward when they walk and run.

Arch supports and anti-pronation (motion control) shoes do not help this problem. The solution is in fact much simpler. Melady tells us thousands of people have tried this experiment to convince themselves that our insoles really work. Place a pad underneath the balls of the feet behind the big toes. It will provide the neuromuscular stimulation the feet need to bring the first metatarsal to the ground. Experiment with mole foam or felt strips no thicker than 1/4 inch, but start with just 1/8 inch. Be sure that the materials do not infringe on the second metatarsal, it will feel like a lump in the sock. “If you try this”, says Melady, “walk before you run. Wear the pad for a few days to allow your muscles to adjust”

ProKinetics insoles are designed to provide dynamic neuromuscular support for feet that over or under pronate (supinate). ProKinetics Insoles are available from a network of medical providers and on a few websites and now at Amazon.