These Shoes Were Made for Running

By: Keane Leung BScPT

So you're standing in front of a wall of running shoes at your local sports store. Scanning left to right, up and down, where do you start? Perhaps your eyes gravitate towards the brightly coloured selections or you look for the most expensive pair of running shoes, equating price with quality? 

Whatever your strategy for selecting a new pair of runners, you might benefit from the following shoe shopping tips:

1. Your feet tend to be bigger after a day of walking around. Shop for shoes late in the day to prevent undersizing.

2. Try on the shoes with socks that you would typically wear for a run. Believe it or not, socks can make the fabric of the shoe feel very different on the feet. Thick socks will cushion the feet from any loose seams or fabric, making these imperfections unnoticeable.

3. Practice some dynamic moves in the store; don't just walk around. Run, skip, hop, and jump (even if you feel embarrassed or self-conscious!).

4. The shoes should feel comfortable once you put them on with the laces secured. There should be no pressure points or heel slippage.

5. Leave a centimetre between the toes and the end of the shoes. Wiggle and splay your toes inside the shoe; there should be enough room for your toes to wiggle freely.

One trick I use is to take the removable insole out of the shoe and place it on the floor. Step onto the insole and observe the shape of your foot relative to the shape of the insole. If your toes are "falling" off the outer edge of the insole, then the toe-box is likely ill-fitting and too narrow for your feet.

6. Be wary of gimmicky advertising catch phrases and technical jargon used to justify a shoe's high price. A more expensive shoe doesn't equate to better quality.

7. Your weight does not determine the amount of cushioning needed for your shoe. 

8. Once you've chosen your new running shoes, give your feet time to adjust. Gradually increase the wear-time of your new runners so your body can adapt to the new biomechanics.

At Kensington Square Physiotherapy, our therapists can help you with your shoe shopping decisions. Book an appointment to have your gait analyzed and we can help you with shopping tips.

We can also assess your foot for custom-made orthotics. Did you know that you can get a pair of shoes from a wide selection of running and walking shoes with your purchase of custom-made orthotics? Come on in or call us with any questions!

(Source: Prevention of Running Injuries by Blaise Dubois, B.Sc, P.T., RCAMT, SPD)

In It For The Long Run

By: Keane Leung BScPT

As you may know, our therapists are getting ready to walk 5K/run 10K for prostate cancer on June 19 for the Fathers Day Run at Burnaby Lake. We welcome you to come join us for a fun day of activities!!

As we prepare for the run, we thought it'd be a good idea to share some running tips on our blog. Follow us on the next series of postings for helpful information about how to run efficiently and avoid injury.

Running Shoes

With the warm weather upon us I am observing more runners hitting the streets in their fancy new running shoes. Coincidentally, we have been seeing more running related injuries come into our clinic too.

Could the two be related? Do new running shoes increase the risk of running related injuries? Are flat shoes better than thick-cushioned shoes? The answers are "possibly", "most likely", and "not necessarily".  

One myth about running shoes is that increased cushioning can prevent injury by reducing shocks to the runner's body. That's how most running shoe companies advertise their products.  In reality, however, clinical and scientific results do not support this fact.  In other words:  shoe cushioning does not reduce the incidence of running injuries.  Instead, strong running muscles and flexible joints are the natural shock absorbers during your run.  

If you are planning on getting new running shoes, keep in mind that any change must be gradual so that your running muscles and joints have time to adapt. To help with your transition to new shoes:

  • Change your shoes gradually
  • Alternate between wearing your current pair and your new pair on runs
  • Transition over a period of 3 to 4 weeks
  • Gradually increase the time you wear your new shoes during a run

Keep a look out for our upcoming blogs to find out more tips to keep you running in tip-top shape.  If you have any questions, drop by the clinic to see one of our physiotherapists, all of whom are runners themselves. We are more than happy to provide you with personalized and running-specific exercises to help you have the best running season this year!    

(Source: Prevention of Running Injuries by Blaise Dubois, B.Sc, P.T., RCAMT, SPD)

They See Me Rollin'...

By: Michael Lam B.H.K., MPT

Want to try out something new to improve your flexibility? Do you want to reduce the time you spend sore after a workout?

Foam rolling could be your answer!
Foam rolling is a self-administered soft tissue release technique. A simple foam roll can provide several benefits. Studies have demonstrated that foam rolling after exercise substantially reduces muscle soreness, and improves static and dynamic range of motion, improves vertical jump height, and improves flexibility.

Some tips when foam rolling:
- Take your time and roll for longer over tight spots
- Remember to breathe while rolling
- Foam rolling should be done for about 20-30 seconds per exercise

Here are my top 3 foam rolling exercises **:

Thoracic Spine Rolling
- Place the foam roller in the middle of your back. 
- Gently roll up and down your back. As you roll down, lift your arms overhead. As you roll up, bring your arms down to your sides.
- This exercise is great for relieving tension in your back, as well as improving mobility in your thoracic spine.

IT Band Rolling
- While lying on your side, place the foam roller beneath your hip.
- Bend your upper leg and place on the ground to steady your body as you perform this exercise. 
- Using your body weight, gently roll up and down the length of your thigh.
- Repeat on the other side.
- This exercise is a great way to prevent patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as "Runner's Knee".

Hip Adductor Rolling
- Lay down facing the ground, almost as if you were assuming a Spiderman crawl position.
- Place the foam roller on the inside of your thigh at an angle to your leg.
- Gently roll along the inside of your thigh.
- Repeat on the other side.
- This exercise is great for releasing the inner thigh and groin muscles.

With all that said and done, consistency in the end is what truly matters. To reach your exercise or flexibility goals, you have to continue to work on it every day. Success isn't achieved over night, it's an accumulation of small successes every day.

** Please note, the exercises outlined here are provided as a guideline. Please seek guidance from your physiotherapist before pursuing new physical activities. If you have any questions about foam rolling exercises, or are interested in purchasing a foam roller, speak to one of the therapists at our clinic.

1. MacDonald, G.Z., Button, D.C., Drinkwater, E.J., & Behm, D.G. (2014). Foam Rolling as a Recovery Tool after an Intense Bout of Physical Activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46 (1), 131-142.
2. Mohr, A.R., Long, B.C., & Goad, C.L. (2014). Effect of Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip-Flexion Range of Motion. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 23, 296-299.)