‘Neutral’ running shoes do not increase injury risk for new runners regardless of foot pronation
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Does matching your running shoes to your running style reduce injury?
Not if you’re new to running.
Foot pronation (the way the foot rolls in when you walk and run) is not associated with increased risk of running injuries for new runners, according to research.
This means new runners don’t need anything other than ordinary ‘neutral’ running shoes, regardless of over/under pronation.
The finding contradicts the common assumption that over or under-pronation in the foot leads to an increased risk of running injury if you run in a neutral pair of running shoes.
Physiotherapist and lead researcher Rasmus Ø. Nielsen, from Aarhus University, said:
This is a controversial finding as it has been assumed for many years that it is injurious to run in shoes without the necessary support if you over/underpronate
The study followed 927 healthy novice runners with different pronation types for a full year.
All people in the study received the same model of neutral running shoe, regardless of whether they had neutral foot pronation or not.
Overall, the study found that the risk of injury was the same for runners after the first 250 km, regardless of their pronation type.
Another key finding was that runners who over or under-pronate had a significantly lower number of injuries per 1,000 km of running than those with neutral foot pronation.
Rasmus Ø. Nielsen commented:
We have now compared runners with neutral foot pronation with the runners who pronate to varying degrees, and our findings suggest that overpronating runners do not have a higher risk of injury than anyone else
The researchers suggest that to avoid injuries beginning runners now should consider other factors such as being overweight, training volume and old injuries.
The study authors note that their study has not looked at what happens when you run in a pair of non-neutral shoes, and what runners should consider about pronation and choice of shoe once they have already suffered a running injury.
The study also does not show whether feet with extreme pronation are subject to a greater risk of running injury than feet with normal pronation.
The study was published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine (Nielsen et al., 2013)
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