These Are Healthy…But They May Be Damaging Your Feet

A stretched hand touching a footHave you ever felt aching knees or back pain during or after running or an aerobic workout? In step class do you find that your knees are feeling under pressure? It very well could be that your fitness shoes are causing the pain. Used sneakers might still look nice, but they may have lost their support and ability to absorb shock.

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According to a Mayo Clinic report, sneakers should be changed after 150 hours of cross training. If you work out three days a week and remove your sneakers after each workout (not using them for everyday running around), your sneakers should last about one year.

Are Your Running Shoes Causing You Pain?

Maintaining a physically active life takes effort and determination. Whether your fitness program is just beginning or you’ve been at it for years, the last thing you need is to be sidelined by pain or injury. Selecting the right shoe can go a long way toward helping you stay in the game.

Claims and Controversies

The sheer number of different types of athletic shoes is staggering and the marketing claims make each one sound like the best. Health and medical experts disagree on whether or not people should even wear modern athletic shoes, go barefoot, or wear one of the new minimalist shoe styles. Barefoot walking and running does strengthen foot and ankle muscles, but it’s not for everyone, for all sports, or for all the time.

Wear and Tear

Another way to determine the best shoe type is to examine your old shoes. If they’re worn out around the outside edges, you’re probably under-pronating. Shoes that sag inward indicate excessive pronation. An even pattern of wear points toward normal pronation.

Even if our shoes still look great on the outside, running and walking shoes should be replaced about every 300-400 miles, or every 3-5 months, if you’re averaging 20 miles a week. If you’re heavy-set or have a higher weekly mileage, replace your shoes at the shorter end of that range. Wearing shoes that no longer offer the right amount of support and cushioning puts you at risk for pain and injury.

Matching Shoes to Sports

It isn’t a good idea to wear your running shoes for activities such as playing tennis, or even in a step class, because running shoes don’t offer much lateral support. For activities that involve a lot of side-to-side movement, opt for cross-trainers or sport-specific athletic shoes like court shoes.

Expert Advice

For persistent pain that doesn’t resolve with a change of shoe style, talk to your health care provider, because your shoes may or may not be the problem. Some people benefit from off-the-shelf or custom orthotic inserts, and others need medical or surgical treatment. The right care and the right shoes will help you get back on your feet and back out there, working up a healthy sweat.