Are You Walking in Your Running Shoes?

Are You Walking in Your Running Shoes?

To prevent injury, look beyond your feet to what you’re putting on them. Specifically, walking in running shoes can lead to Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and plantar fasciitis. Here’s what you need to know.

Thousands and thousands of steps

Stroll… Strut… Trudge… Amble… As humans, our walking comes in many different forms – and we do a lot of it. A typical healthy amount to walk each day is 8000-10,000 steps, according to the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association (IPMA). At that pace, by the time we are 70 years old, our bodies, one foot after the other, will have logged four circles of the planet.

In other words, forget running or any other activities. Just look at the sheer amount of steps we take while walking, and it’s no wonder that 3 out of every 4 people in the U.S. will suffer from foot pain during their lifetimes.

Choosing shoes to prevent injury

The good news is that you can prevent pain simply by adjusting your shoes. For example, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCPOD) points out that 90% of women wear undersized shoes. Those fashionable, chic high heels are at one end of the footwear spectrum; and yes, they are dangerous. However, the other end of the spectrum – no-nonsense, functional running shoes – can be a problem as well.

Take it from the shoe companies. "It's best to choose sneakers that are suited for your primary activity," noted Brooks Running senior manager Brice Newton. "For example, runners need sneakers that can withstand the repetitive pattern and force that’s applied when running.”

The issue is that the focus of shoes that are optimized for running is different from ones that are optimized for walking. Walking shoes generally have extra cushioning, particularly in the heel. Yes, walking isn’t high-impact like running is, but the foot is on the ground longer, which is why the additional padding is helpful.

The rocking chair of walking

New Balance marketing manager Paulina Kelly compared the biomechanics of walking to the movement of a rocking chair: the weight gradually slides across your foot, from the heel to the ball to the toe.

How do you prevent pain? “[W]alkers benefit from shoes that are flexible through the ball of the foot to allow for that rolling motion, support through the arch where the force of the foot striking the ground is heaviest, and all-over cushion,” noted Sarah Klein in Prevention. “Walking in a running shoe, which often has less cushion, could lead to impact injuries like plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.”

The running path to recovery

Are you experiencing pain when walking or running? At Flexogenix, we strive to help our patients achieve a pain-free lifestyle through exclusive personalized care. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation!

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