Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Although the weather has been a little strange over the past couple weeks, avid runners will soon be able to take their workouts outdoors. Running outdoors is typically much more enjoyable than running on a treadmill, but it can also take a bigger toll on your back because you’re not always running on a flat surface. One way to prevent back pain while running is to invest in a pair of shoes that have some features that help mitigate back pain. Today, we share four features to look for in a running shoe that can help prevent back problems.
Motion-controlled shoes are designed to stop your foot from inherently turning inward or pronating with each step. If you over-pronate when running, you can throw off your body’s natural alignment, which can contribute to low back pain. Look for a shoe that is advertised as a motion-control shoe, or better yet, ask the shoe specialist if they have shoes that prevent overpronation.
It’s also important to find a shoe that provides ample cushioning in the sole. Your spine acts as a natural shock absorber with each step, so if you can add some cushioning to the bottom of your shoe, you can help take some of the strain off your spine. That being said, studies have shown that barefoot runners land lighter on their feet, and individuals with some cushioning land lighter than runners with extra cushioning, so if you find a shoe with ample support, make sure you’re still trying to land lightly on your feet. If you land hard and assume the cushioning will protect you, you may end up doing more damage to your spine than had you invested in a more minimalist shoe.
Lack of arch support is also tied to spine problems. If your arches aren’t supported, it can lead to tight hamstring muscles, hip problems, and eventually back problems. If you have a high arch, find a shoe with a sole that is contoured to your arch.
The above features are nice, but only if the shoe retains the ability to provide you with those features. Some cheap knock offs may say they provide extra cushioning or arch support, but if the cushioning fades after the first few runs or they wear down quickly, you’re going to be exposing your back to injuries. We’re not saying you should buy the most expensive shoes on the rack, but there’s probably a good reason that off-brand shoe is on super sale. Stick to well-known brands, do your research beforehand and don’t just buy the cheapest pair. Considering that these shoes may prevent you from injury, investing in a quality pair can actually save you money in the long run if they can keep you out of the doctor’s office!