It’s the Wrong Shoes Gromit
To gait analyse, or not to gait analyse: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the foot to suffer
The laces and shoes of outrageous fortune,
Or to take feet against a pavement of troubles,
And by opposing end them.
Hamlet. Act III. Scene I. Slightly adjusted by Sarah Melton - 2018.
In other words, a lot of our overuse injuries could well be stemming from the wrong shoes and the fateful decision to wear the ‘right’ shoes.
The American Army may not have a lot of uses (personal, not professional opinion), but one thing they did do was invest in analysing recruits' feet after a torrent of overuse injuries within basic training. They set about fitting the soldiers with shoes based on their foot type: high, low, or normal foot arches.
Those high arched (I have always considered myself ‘blessed’ with high arches) were given well-cushioned shoes; flat-footed, low arched souls (yes, soles as well) were given firmer mid-soled shoes; and those ‘normal’ folk were given neutral shoes. The premise behind was to aid adequate pronation (inward movement of your foot and ankle) within each type since pronation distributes some of the forces generated with each pounding step.
Here’s the kicker; over the course of several studies no correlation was found between a reduction of injuries and the right shoes. Injury rates were in fact highest amongst those who had been fitted with the ‘right’ shoes as opposed to those who had not.
The manager of the Injury Prevention Program for the United States Army Public Health Command (what a title), commented that it was a myth to believe that flat-footers needed motion-control and high-archers required cushioned shoes.
The premise of controlling under- or over-pronating is still under question as to whether it is in fact the cause of running issues.
The best advice that can be given is this; try on lots of different shoes, have a little trot round the carpark, if they feel right and fit well to your individual foot, there is no pain or discomfort and you’ve listened to what your body is telling you, not just the guy behind the counter, then buy the shoes that work. Not just the pretty blue ones.