06 Sep DIY shoe assessment:
A fun experiment if you want to take a photo of your old running shoes and share them on this post. Read the DIY assessment below and let everyone know if you come across any interesting findings.
Whenever I assess a runner in my physiotherapy clinic I always ask to look at their shoes. I will quickly assess the weight, flexibility and stack height, but I am most interested in the wear patterns at the sole of the shoe. Studies have shown that most runners are very poor at accurately guessing how they contact the ground when they run, so let the bottom of your shoes do the talking!
Step 1: Work out if the wear is towards the heel or towards the forefoot. This can accurately depict your initial ground contact when you run and can put you in the ‘heel striker’ ‘midfoot striker’ ‘forefoot striker’ category. It is worth noting if you have done a lot of walking (not running) in them and scuff your heels when you walk this could give you a false positive.
Step 2: What side is the wear on. Is it on the outside, inside or middle of the shoe. This is important to determine what angle to are hitting the ground. For instance, wear on the outside of the shoe may indicate you are rotating your foot outwards or crossing over the midline when you run. Wear on the inside might indicate excessive pronation (rolling in) of your ankle when contacting the ground.
Step 3: See the difference in wear from your right shoe to your left shoe. This will indicate if you are hitting the ground harder or pushing off stronger on one side. This can result in uneven loads through the body which as we know, is a very important factor for overload injuries.
I have included my own shoes to demonstrate. Pay attention to the wear and tear of the forefoot section compared to the heel section. Then look at the outside of the forefoot section relative to the inside. Lastly can you see the excessive wear in my left shoe (on the right) compared to the other? A classic example of the shoes telling the story!