Variety Helps Prevent Running and Walking Injuries

Variety Helps Prevent Running and Walking Injuries

New Zealand Podiatrist Joel Bell, explains why Variety Helps Prevent Running and Walking Injuries

By Joel Bell, Podiatrist BHSc.(Pod) at Masterton Foot Clinic

Joel Bell - Podiatrist Masterton

Joel Bell argues variety prevents injuries

I was reading a recent study going over the merits of varying running shoes in order to prevent running injuries. The idea is that changing the shoes will change the type of stress going through the feet and legs so the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones aren’t always being worked in the same position.

When most people get overuse or repetitive strain injuries it is because they are doing the same motion over and over again. The same thing goes on with your feet if you use one pair of shoes all the time, run at the same pace, and run on the same surface. The foot and ankle goes through the same motion over tens of thousands of foot steps and eventually things start to break down.

Here’s a few ways to mix things up:

1.       Vary the shoes! Have a few different pairs that you like to run in. A lighter pair for short fast runs and a stronger more supportive pair for longer runs. Trail shoes for going off road.

“Asics” DS Trainer. Light at 250gms

Asics DS Trainer. Lighter still at 250gm.

Asics DS Trainer. Lighter still at 250gms

“Mizuno” Wave Rider 18
Light weight training shoe- around 260gm

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Light weight training shoe

Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Light weight training shoe


“Asics” 2000 Trail shoe, 320gm

Asics 2000 Trail shoe

Asics 2000 Trail shoe

2.       Vary the surface. If you always run or walk on the treadmill try going outside. If you always run the same loop then go in the opposite direction. Try going off road. Add hills if you normally run on the flat.

3.       Vary the distance and the speed. Try doing shorter faster runs if you tend to go long and slow.

4.       Do something other than running and walking! Go for a swim, hit the gym, try a different activity.

5.       Orthotics! Varying the surface of the innersole in your running or walking shoes with an orthotic is often enough to reduce the stress if you already have an injury.

Temporary orthotics like Trithotics, made from closed cell foams

such as EVA are softer and compress over time

Softer temporary orthoses

Softer temporary orthoses

Casted orthotics made from flexible polypropylene plastic

are elastic by nature, so repound following impact and 

thereby return energy while running.

Casted orthoses

Casted orthoses

If you need any more advice on your running injury or for any foot complaint you can book online with Joel on