Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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DOR Podcast #79:
Does More Shoe Cushioning Lower Your Injury Risk? (ft. Dr. Laurent Malisoux)

In a very special episode, Matt interviews Laurent Malisoux, PhD about his extensive research into the connection between shoe cushioning and injury rates. Dr. Malisoux is the Group Leader of the Physical Activity, Sport and Health (PASH) research group at the Luxembourg Institute of Health. Over the last 5 years, he focused his research activities on the prevention of sports injury and the evaluation of physical activity. Matt and Dr. Malisoux explore the differences between hard and soft shoes, research methods, injury risk, and more.

Listen to This Week's Podcast Here!

Direct Links: Apple | Spotify | Anchor

Read Dr. Laurent Malisoux's Work
See some of our team's go-to articles by Malisoux here:

Malisoux, L., Ramesh, J., Mann, R., Seil, R., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2015). Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running-related injury risk?. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 25(1), 110–115.

Willems TM, Ley C, Goetghebeur E, Theisen D, Malisoux L. Motion-Control Shoes Reduce the Risk of Pronation-Related Pathologies in Recreational Runners: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2021 Mar;51(3):135-143. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2021.9710. Epub 2020 Dec 11. PMID: 33306927.

Theisen, D., Malisoux, L., Genin, J., Delattre, N., Seil, R., & Urhausen, A. (2014). Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury riskBritish Journal of Sports Medicine48(5), 371-376.


00:00 - Giveaway winner
00:57 - Introduction
2:25 - Interview: Matt with Dr. Laurent Malisoux
10:43 - Shoe Cushioning Defined
17:15 - Is there a connection between impact force and injury risk
25:21 - The influence of different levels of shoe cushioning on biomechanics
28:03 - The relationship between body mass and injury risk
41:33 - What does research say about shoes effecting injury rates?
50:59 - In what population does shoe cushioning impact injury rates, and how do we apply that?
1:00:29 - Closing questions
1:02:39 - Interview wrap-up with Matt & Nate

Science Blog:
Does Foot Placement Matter? | Overstriding
By Senior Contributor Nathan Brown

Much focus among runners, particularly among those who enjoy diving deep into footwear (aka shoe geeks), is placed on foot strike pattern. We’ve dedicated an entire podcast episode to the topic, with a main emphasis that the current evidence shows that there is not a particular running economy advantage or decrease in injury rates among varying foot strike patterns (ie rearfoot vs midfoot vs forefoot).  However, there are other biomechanical factors and running gait measures that have been linked to certain types of injuries and running economy. One of these is what’s known as tibial inclination angle. This angle refers to the angle of the tibia relative to vertical when the foot first contacts the ground. As this angle increases, the impact loading rate, impact peak, and what has been coined a “braking force” all increase. A higher inclination angle also is a component of what people know as “overstriding.” 

Those increases result in two things:

First is a predisposition to bone stress injuries, particularly tibial stress syndrome and its variants. Secondly, the increased braking force has been tied to a decreased running economy given that the body needs to overcome a ground reaction force pointed in the opposite direction of motion. 

Given these results, landing with a vertical tibia, regardless of foot strike pattern, may be a component of your running gait to consider both for protection against bone stress injuries/medial tibial stress syndrome and for creating an improvement in your running economy. This can occasionally be achieved with slight adjustments to cadence or person-specific cues. As always, changes to mechanics should be done with caution and best under the supervision of a physical therapist who specializes in working with runners or a knowledgeable run coach.

Thanks for Listening!
Find all of our past podcasts in our archive here.

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