Every day we see commercials for the latest advanced sports sneaker that promises to make us run faster than ever before. However, if you look at the facts, you’ll see these shoes are not only making us run slower, they’re causing a massive increase in injuries.
That’s right—sneakers are actually pretty sneak-y.
A study published in PM&R, the Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, confirmed what scientists have known for years: running shoes increase knee and hip torque to dangerous levels. It’s not hard to see why. Runners in cushioned sneakers tend to hit the ground harder because they know the cushioning will protect their feet. However, it places an exorbitant amount of stress on their ankles and joints.
Why do we need running shoes? Technically, we don’t.
Humans have been around for approximately two million years. The running shoe in its present form has been around since 1972. What were humans doing for those other 1,999,959 years? Many of them were running barefoot! Sometimes they even drove cars barefoot!
Wait a minute—that was Fred Flintstone. Okay, moving on…
Why does barefoot running beat “normal” running? When we run barefoot, we tend to land on the middle of the foot. This allows our feet to flex and absorb shock, strengthening the muscles in our feet over time. When we wear sneakers, we tend to land on our heels. According to the report, this style of running is not only unnatural, but dangerous. It makes us less stable and actually weakens our feet. Try running on your heels barefoot and you’ll immediately see how wrong it feels.
Before you dump your sneakers and start running around your neighborhood like an Aborigine bushman, note that running barefoot can also be dangerous. Unless you live on some remote grassland and have built up a rugged, leather-like layer of skin on the sole of your foot, it might be a bad idea. Right now you probably run on pavement, sidewalks, cement, rocky ground and shelled beaches. These terrains, and the trash they contain, can slice your feet up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Besides, having Hobbit-like feet isn’t really considered attractive nowadays.
Serious runners suggest visiting runners stores for their purchases — as opposed to a department store or general sporting goods stores. The employees there specialize in selling shoes that specifically fit your foot and how you move. They watch you run, assess your movements, and can outfit you better than if you simply go to a store and pick out a pair because you like the colors.
Regardless of the kind of shoes you buy, this doesn’t undo the damage that your joints have already suffered. And that’s not just from running. Most people own general use shoes for the gym, walking, golfing, or any kind of physical activity, all of which can contribute to long term joint pain. Fortunately, there’s other ways to help yourself.
Scientists have found ways to boost the body’s ability to recover from physical activity and reduce joint pain. There are numerous supplements for this, but the top natural product on the market is called Beneflex. It uses proven remedies like Glucosamine and Turmeric Root to help the body recover. It also contains fast-acting ingredients like White Willow Bark Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, and Boswellia Serrata Extract that provide a huge kick. It’s even got professional sports figures backing up the results, like Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, as well as Olympic Gold Medal winner and World Cup Champion soccer player Carla Overbeck.
Needless to say, sneakers are comfortable, cool and they’re here to stay — but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer long term joint pain. With some smart shoe shopping and maybe a supplement on the side, you can reduce pain for years to come.