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There are many factors that can contribute to running-related injuries. In this article, we are going to discuss how improper form and shoes can cause running injuries.
Everyone has their own unique form or running style, to some degree, so there’s no one perfect running form. But it’s certainly important to run with good posture. I tell my patients to “run tall” and make sure they have a straight upper torso without arching their back, and to keep the head directly over the shoulders. That posture will limit stress on the back, knees and feet.
You also want to maintain a shorter, quicker stride as opposed to a very long stride where the foot lands in front of the knee, which is known as an overstriding. Overstriding can place more stress on the foot and ankle and knees, which can lead to injury. Instead, your knees should be right above your feet when the foot strikes. Likewise, make sure that your arms are swinging forward and backward with your elbows bent about 90 degrees. You don’t want to rotate your arms across your body and cause extra stress on the elbow and shoulder joints and compromise core stability. In general, you should try to run as relaxed as you can. Less tension in the body means you are less likely to get injured.
A good pair of running shoes is very important, as they will protect your feet and provide some degree of shock absorption. When purchasing your running shoes, you should take into account your foot type as well. People with higher arches tend to have a stiffer foot, so you should get a neutral shoe with more cushion. If you have a flat foot or are an overpronator – where the foot turns inward and the arch of the foot flattens – then you need a stiffer stability shoe. Once you have the proper pair of shoes, you need to make sure you change them regularly, which is every 300 to 400 miles. Once they wear out, they don’t provide enough support and shock absorption, which can lead to injuries.