You need a little less stability in your life

Stoney just visited Lucky Road looking for a new pair of running shoes. In addition to serving our country as a member of the armed forces, he is training for a marathon this year. Stoney thought it would be a good idea to bring his old shoes with him so we could see the wear pattern. Ordinarily the wear patterns are of little use in deciphering a runners actual gait. There are too many variables to consider which make reading certain patterns less than accurate. However, the wear patterns on Stoney’s shoes were much TOO accurate.

Stoney had been wearing a pair of Brooks Adrenaline’s. A very good shoe for runners who exhibit a moderate to severe degree of shoe pronation. Less than 35% of runners fall into that category. The wear on his Adrenaline showed shearing to the outside, lateral, edge of the sole. The midsole was also collapsing laterally, or to the outside. Without having watched Stoney run I was observing a shoe that showed he was being over corrected. But we don’t want to make assumptions here, it’s important that we assess his gait just to be sure that we see what we think is happening when he runs. Sure enough, Stoney has a neutral gait and was indeed being over corrected by his strong stability shoes.

Pronation is a natural mechanism of foot motion. It helps with dispersing impact forces. When a shoe overcorrects our feet, it’s in effect preventing us from pronating to a neutral position and diminishing our natural ability to disperse impact. That impact can then be transferred up our legs. And wouldn’t you know it, Stoney had been experiencing pain to the front of his shin. Hmmm. We were able to explain to Stoney how switching to a neutral shoe would allow his feet to better handle impact forces and therefore reduce, if not eliminate, his shin pain. This sounded good to him.

Fast fact; 50% of runners wearing stability shoes are being overcorrected and in risk of injury. Other injuries that can come from overcorrection are metatarsal fractures, taylors bunion, perennial tendonitis, stress fracture of the fibula, IT band syndrome and premature atrophy of the medial meniscus, just to name a few. For those of you wearing stability shoes, ask yourself this, are you in the half that needs them or are you in the half that’s being overcorrected?

~ Jeff Van Horn, Lucky Road