As a runner, you're probably well aware of the importance of choosing the right shoes for your foot type and running stride. However, it's not just the shoes that you wear that contribute to your risk of running injuries—it's also the way you wear them. Here's a look at three common mistakes that runners make when it comes to their shoes, and how you can avoid them.
Lacing the shoes too tightly across the top of the foot.
Shoes that are laced too tightly can lead to pain in the top of the foot, and sometimes even stress fractures in the metatarsal bones. Simply loosening your laces is a good start, but if you find that your shoe slips around on your heel too much after you let the laces out, you'll want to explore alternative lacing techniques.
There are a number of great lacing techniques that allow you to keep the shoe secure on your foot without placing so much pressure on the top of your foot. One such method is skip-lacing, which involves using a regular cross-lacing pattern in the holes nearest the toes, skipping a few holes, and then cross-lacing again near the top of the shoe.
Not replacing your shoes often enough.
This bad habit is particularly common among runners who log a lot of miles on the treadmill or clean track. The shoes still look clean after months of training, so they don't replace them. Unfortunately, the shock-absorbing ability of running shoes often diminishes considerably before the shoe begins to look worn. Running in shoes with worn-out padding can lead to all sorts of injuries, from Achilles tendonitis to shin splints. To keep your feet and legs healthy, experts recommend replacing your shoes every 300–500 miles—whether or not they actually look worn out.
Putting on damp or wet shoes.
You run in the rain on Saturday, and on Sunday, your shoes are still a little damp. You put them on anyways, and end up developing a blister. Sound familiar? Many runners are guilty of running in damp shoes, and guess what—the dampness is what causes the blister. Running in damp shoes also increases your risk of other lovely ailments like athlete's foot and toenail fungus. If you adjust your stride due to soreness caused by blisters or other foot ailments, you put yourself at risk of greater injury. To avoid this issue, have at least 2 pairs of running shoes in rotation, so you can give one a break when it's wet.
You can only run as far as your feet can carry you. Treat them well by wearing your shoes properly, and your feet will carry you further than you could ever imagine. If you have any questions about your shoes and the protection they should provide you, make sure to discuss your exercise with a doctor from a clinic like The Podiatry Center.