Tips on How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for YOU and Your Running Form

Tips on How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for YOU and Your Running Form

It can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out what kind of running shoes will be best for you, your feet, and your running style.  Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do when trying on shoes to make the choice easier.

If you’re dealing with a running injury in Austin, you can request a free consultation with one of Carter Physiotherapy’s running-expert physical therapists. We can quickly figure out what’s causing your pain and limiting your mileage—without it costing you a dime.

The Complexity of Shopping for Running Shoes in Austin

I recently asked one of our running injury and running shoe specialists his advice on how to pick the best running shoe. He answered, “If you go to a running store, you might find 50, 60, or 70 different options to choose from. It can be overwhelming even for me.” The reality is there are a lot of different options for a lot of different running forms.

Overpronation

One thing we often hear from our runner patients who have visited a few running shoe stores is, “I totally overpronate.” This concerns me because I’m not sure how the shoe store attendant is assessing overpronation. Are they properly trained to know how much pronation is normal and how much is too much?

Pronation is not a bad thing. We NEED to pronate … It’s appropriate and it’s how we transport forces around the body.

Just be cautious. Most people don’t need highly corrective, high-arch-support running shoes. When we overcorrect a runner’s feet, it tends to create a lot more problems. It can lead to new injuries as they run.

We should allow the foot to move appropriately and normally as possible. That is, we should utilize shoe correction and/or orthotics only as much as necessary.

Assessing running shoes

When you go to one of the many running shoe stores in Austin, they may suggest you assess a running shoe by jogging on their treadmill for a minute or two.

Unfortunately, that’s not really enough time to truly evaluate a shoe. You won’t know what it will do to your feet until you get home and start running 3, 4, 5 miles or more. However, most stores won’t take back shoes that were used on actual runs.

But there are a couple things you can do at the store to help choose the right running shoe. The shoe that makes you feel most stable and balanced during these tests is likely going to be the best choice for you.

  1. Single-leg balance: Balance on one foot (wearing the new shoe) for 30 seconds. If you’re all over the place and you can’t control your balance, it’s probably not the right shoe for you.
  2. Single-leg squat: While wearing the new shoe, do a squat using just one leg. If the new shoe helps you feel more stable than you feel with other shoes or while barefoot, it might be a good choice.

 

Other resources for runners in Austin:

Enjoy Trail Running? Click here to learn about our favorite 5 trail runs in Austin (includes descriptions of the runs, difficulty levels, and map locations)

Click here to learn some really important exercises for runners and how to prevent one of the most common causes of running injury

If you know you want to learn some of the most important running-injury prevention exercises, click here to check them out.

My therapist at Carter PT has been awesome. For 4 years I wore the same pair of shoes everywhere. Literally everywhere, not just exercising, they were the only pair of shoes I could wear without creating new feet/knee/hip pain and neuropathy. I truly feel I was led specifically to him after trying other PTs.

I tried all kinds of shoes and luckily took good notes about how I felt in most of them… He knows a lot about all of the different running shoe models. He went through the list in detail, worked with me for a few sessions to understand my difficulties, then went to a running store to evaluate options based on his assessment of me and all the details I gave him (not many people would take their own time to do this). This was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

He then suggested a few pairs of shoes. I ordered them and was shortly the proud wearer of a new pair of shoes! I seriously never thought that day would happen.

He has been an awesome PT and works with me at my speed to not flare up symptoms. I love having a full hour of his undivided attention. I look forward to working with him to get into another pair of shoes!

TB, AUSTIN TX

Request a Free Consultation

If you’re already dealing with a running injury in Austin, click here to request a completely free consultation with a running-expert physical therapist. We can quickly figure out what’s causing your pain and limiting your mileage without it costing you a dime.

 

 

Is “Pretty Good” Good Enough to Avoid Re-injury?

Is “Pretty Good” Good Enough to Avoid Re-injury?

morning runners in AustinToday I’d like to share a cautionary tale about re-injury that we see very commonly in our physical therapy clinic. People who have been injured but are doing really well with treatment and recovering nicely will start to feel “pretty good.” They return to most of the activities that their pain was keeping the from. They get back on the trail running, playing with their kids around the house, or even go back on the golf course to play the game they love.

At this point, during a PT session, they will often say they “still feel it a little,” but it is not much of a problem. This is where trouble can begin…

Learning the hard way

We know from experience that “pretty good” is not good enough. But at this point, many decide that the pain is so minor, they don’t really need to continue treatment.

I’ll explain exactly why this can cause big problems and cost them a lot more money than if they’d just completed that last 1 or 2 treatments and attained 100% recovery. But first let me tell my own story of making this same type of mistake when I was younger.

I was in Mexico doing some work with local indigenous villages helping them build a school. I ate some local cuisine that I was assured was not washed with their water. 

As anyone who has spent time in Mexico knows, even eating eating produce washed with local water can create some serious health issues. I invariably got sick from the cuisine—which was amazing by the way.

This led me to come back to the main city to a hospital because I was getting quite dehydrated from the intestinal issue I was dealing with.

After meeting the doctor, I was given some antibiotics and told very clearly to finish out the prescription even if I was feeling better. Of course, being 20 years old, I took most of the antibiotics but stopped once I felt “good enough.” 

What happened next was predictable and quite common. Once I stopped taking the antibiotics, I felt terrible again. This is a lesson we sometimes learn the hard way.

When doctors of physical therapy prescribe a certain amount of treatment, the goal is to ensure every patient gets the right amount of “medicine” we provide.

If you see your treatment through its entire prescription, you give yourself the best chance of recovering fully and staying 100% better. “Good enough” is not good enough.

How quitting when you feel “pretty good” leads to re-injury

Symptoms, abnormal movement patterns, and weaknesses need to be 100% resolved. Consequently, if you prematurely stop your therapy, it leaves the door open for re-injury or the return of stronger symptoms.

This is because abnormal movement compensations/strains will still be occurring to some degree, and those can build up over time just like they did before. Stopping at “80% better” because you feel “good enough” and you’re no longer limited in your activities can eventually put you back to square one. Unfortunately, this can cost you much more over time and knock you back out of your beloved sport/competition or ability to work.

It is important to see your treatment plan of care through its entirety for these 3 reasons:

  • Pain is a sign that something is wrong even if it is minimal. When the pain is still there or it returns, it means something is still wrong and should be addressed quickly.
  • When you see your treatment through til you are completely pain-free, you give yourself the best chance of avoiding re-injury. And that means your pain does not come back in the future.
  • The body is much quicker to adapt than it is to heal. Adaptations can get in the way of us truly healing and staying 100% better.

So whether you’re getting treatment at our Austin clinic or somewhere else, see your therapy through til you are 100% pain-free. Then you will be able to get back to doing all the things you love. You don’t have to “just live with” pain … even if it’s minor.

“Why does it hurt again?”

Have you ever had an injury that you thought was resolved, but then one day you realize it’s beginning to hurt again? Did you think that you would have to live with this pain for the rest of your life?

If you are dealing with persistent pain and would like to know how we can help, call or text Carter Physiotherapy at (512) 693-8849.

Many of our patients tell us similar stories about a pain/injury that would resurface now and again, sometimes completely debilitating them—or at least keeping them from being able to exercise for a while. And unfortunately, many of them thought they would “just have to live with it.” They assumed they’d even be occasionally laid up by it … until they found us.

If it’s starting to hurt again, does that mean it will never heal?

It is not uncommon for some symptoms to return after you think your issue is resolved. In fact, now and again, some symptoms may return in our patients even after we have completed a successful course of therapy and the patient left the clinic pain-free and highly active.

If symptoms return after treatment has concluded, it doesn’t mean that you have had a big setback. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that PT wasn’t the full answer to the problem.

If you achieved pain-free status in PT before, it can be done again!

However, it is important to address the return of pain as soon as possible so it doesn’t become a bigger issue that takes multiple treatments to resolve.

For example, I experienced exactly this situation when I was a young therapist. I had been traveling for work, and when I returned I was having some intense low back pain. I knew that with a few treatments and some modification in movement that I would feel better fairly quickly. And that is exactly what happened. In 4-5 days, I was feeling much better after some much-needed treatment. 

What would make it hurt again?

So what did I do after a week of feeling really good? I decided it was a good idea to go hit some golf balls at the driving range.

My symptoms came back even though I had been feeling great. I had no complaints of pain with any movement, but I decided hitting 30 golf balls would be alright. Just that little strain of hitting a few chips brought my pain back.

I should’ve known better being a physical therapist. But I was feeling so good it was hard not to get out and test it a bit. The great thing was that I had access to great manual therapists who could fix me right up. I was back on the golf course the following week with no restrictions at all.

You do not have to live with the pain

The take-home point is this: Don’t let a little return of symptoms keep you from the things you love. If it was fixed before, it can be fixed again.

Sometimes a fire is not always out just because there aren’t flames. Fortunately, if you can address your symptoms quickly, they should resolve quickly.

Request a call with one of our Austin-area physical therapists if your injury has started to hurt again. We can get you back you to doing the things you love.

Part 3 – Why do I keep getting injured when I run?

Part 3 – Why do I keep getting injured when I run?

Many runners who make their way to our Austin-area physical therapy clinic are looking to understand why they struggle with recurring injuries. In part 2 of this article series on running injuries, we discussed the ways the foot can have a big impact on all the joints above and cause various running injuries. 

Are running injuries keeping you from the sport you love? Call or text us at 512-693-8849 to arrange a free consult with one of our running expert physical therapists.

In part 3 below, we will discuss the critical role of the hips and pelvis, and their importance to running without pain and injury.

The hip, or coxofemoral joint, is a classic ball-and-socket joint that attaches to your pelvis. It is inherently a very stable joint due to the depth that it possesses, but hip muscle weakness is incredibly common problem among runners.

One of the distinct signs we look for as bio-mechanical experts is a hip drop or, “Trendelenburg sign,” during stance phase (when the foot is on the ground).

What that means is that when you are on one leg while running we are looking if that opposite hip drops (see image below). If it drops significantly compared to the other side we know that hip weakness is present. Hip weakness can be attributed to back, hip, knee, and foot pain. That’s how important it is!

Running injury in Austin Texas

So how can you tell if you have this type of hip weakness and what can you do about it?

See the Video below to find out if you’re at risk for injury due to hip weakness, and learn 3 quick exercises you can do fix the problem.

 

At Carter Physiotherapy, we have set up a Running Analysis & Optimization lab to evaluate our runners’ strides to get to the root cause of their pain and provide corrective exercises to not only eliminate your pain but also prevent it from coming back. We use the latest technology with high-speed cameras and gait analysis software look at every aspect of your running. 

Click here to watch how it works!

Another key area we look at here at Carter Physiotherapy is the connection of the hip which is at the pelvis. Making sure your pelvis is level and balanced is critical to keeping you pain free and running well. We do this in a variety of ways such as soft tissue mobilization & massage, joint mobilization, corrective exercises, muscle energy techniques, clinical kinesiology, and even trigger point needling.

We are experts at balancing the pelvis to make sure that your hip muscles are firing well. As we are balancing your pelvis, we will prescribe exercises to help address those specific issues that we found. These corrective exercises will help you hold the work we have done and allow you to build strength on a more solid foundation.

If you’re having any pain on your runs, contact us to see if your hips/pelvis could be the root cause of the problem so you can get back on the trail and start running without pain again. (512) 693-8849

[RELATED REPORT] The Top 10 Causes of Running Injuries and How You Can Recover Faster if You’re Injured

Part 1- Why do I keep getting the same injuries when I run?

Part 1- Why do I keep getting the same injuries when I run?

why you get the same running injuriesAre you frustrated with constantly dealing with same running injuries over and over again? The pain goes away with rest or treatment but then comes back as soon as you try to increase your mileage? You’re not alone! Austin is a great city to be a runner and we see a large number of runners at our physical therapy clinic. It’s not uncommon for a new patient to tell us that they are dealing with an injury that pops up ever time they try to increase the distance of their runs past a certain point.  Ex: “I can do 3 mile runs everyday and feel fine, but as soon as I try to push past the 5 mile distance, my calf starts hurting again.” Sound familiar?

If you’re currently dealing with any pain during or after your runs, we can help you figure out the causes of your pain and create a plan to getting of it completely for free … request a free consultation here, and put an end to limiting your mileage.

Research has shown that up to 80% of runners will experience some injury during their running lives. When you run, you experience 2-3 times the force of your own body-weight with every step! Over the course of a run you experience an extreme amount of force through your joints and soft tissues, which can lead to repetitive strain injury if those forces are not well balanced and minimized by muscular-stabilization of the joints.

Resolving running injuries

The key to completely resolving a running injury once and for all is to identify and resolve ALL of the underlying causes of the problem. In today’s unfortunate healthcare world, clinicians are often forced to see many more patients per day than they should. If a patient has knee pain, they only have time to look at the knee … but as you’ll see below and in the next two articles, this will often lead to missing the whole story, and therefore failing to address why you keep getting the same running injuries over and over again.

[RELATED REPORT] The Top 10 Causes of Running Injuries and How You Can Recover Faster if You’re Injured

Knee pain from running

The most common running injuries tend to be at the knee. The knee is a simple hinge joint that is wedged between your hip and your foot, and the reality is that your knee is usually not to blame!!

Knee pain is usually either a result of poor hip muscle control or over-pronation issues. Pronation is a natural motion of the foot that happens when your foot contacts the ground and your arch goes inward. Over-pronation is when your arch collapses too much, placing increased stress on all the joints above.

In Part 2 of this article series, we will discuss about what to do about your overpronation issues. The first joint above the foot/ankle just happens to be your knee, and often takes the brunt of any issues in the foot.

Poor hip control and hip muscle weakness is another common problem that leads to increased stress on your knee, and we will explain more about how to avoid this issue in Part 3.

 

>>Click here to Read Part 2<<

What are the most common issues in your patients with back pain?

What are the most common issues in your patients with back pain?

During a recent presentation I gave for a group of personal trainers, I discussed the most common back pain issues I treat in my clinic.

Is back pain keeping you from enjoying the active lifestyle you deserve? Call or text the expert physical therapists at Carter PT at (512) 693-8849 to learn how we can help. 

Common issues that accompany back pain

 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

(Please excuse grammatical errors, as this is simply a transcription of conversational speaking)

The biggest thing I see with back pain, as I mentioned before, is that the hip flexors are almost always involved. Even if they weren’t part of the initial problem, they’re kind of a guarding reactive muscle, and it’s amazing how much pain can be resolved just by getting those to calm down with the right treatment—not just with stretches but you actually kind of go through the stomach and work on those. I’d say probably back strain due to core weakness and overloading the hip flexors would be the most common. Definitely plenty of joint stuff too, especially as people get older.

I use manual therapy stuff to release those, then I teach them how to stretch them, and then usually there will be some joint mobilization involved, too.

Usually if there is a problem with the hip flexors, quite often there is an issue, at some level, with the joint. You kind of test each individual level and mobilize that joint and make sure they’re just good and strong in the abs long-term so that the hip flexors aren’t doing too much work.

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