Minimise joint discomfort with appropriate running footwear

Knee pain is common to most people who run and most athletes have knee problems at least once every year. When you have a knee pain it will prevent you from not only running but also performing your daily activities. The severity and location of the knee pain depend on the involved structure and the signs include stiffness and swelling of the knee, popping sounds, instability, fever and impossibility to straighten the leg. There are different causes of knee pain such as poor alignment of the lower proximity, an over pronated foot, torn ligaments or arthritis.

Medication and rehabilitation of the knee are some of the best ways to help do away with the pain but you need to have the right choice of running shoes to solve this problem. Whatever shoe you wear while running has a great impact on the load you put on the knee joints, hence making the knee pain better or worse. When buying running shoes for knee pain you should consider the following:

Take a Gait Analysis

First have your gait assessment done so that you get to know your foot pronation, i.e. over pronation, supination or neutral. For over pronation, where the foot rolls inward as you run there is excess pressure on the knee joints so you will need to buy motion control or stability running shoes. These kinds of shoes have a hard thick material at the arch point which acts as a support and provides great amount stability hence the foot will not roll inwards. This is most popular with many athletes.

A Simple Wet Test Using Water & Paper. Image credit: Cork Orthotics

Supination is where the foot rolls outwards when running so the best shoes are those that offer flexibility and cushioning the foot. Don’t get stability shoes as they can exaggerate the rolling outward motion which could cause excess knee pain and other problems. For people with neutral pronation, buy stability shoes, but not motion control shoes. If you will be running on an uneven ground, you may need to buy a shoe that has extra cushioning

Get the Correct Cushioning

Buy a well-cushioned shoe which will help prevent shock to the knee as they absorb the impact of your foot on the ground. Mizuno running shoes are a very popular brand with runners who experience knee pain.

When you wear a well-cushioned shoe you will feel as if you are walking on air or on a pillow which is the best for your knee as the shoes give a great padding, support stability, and comfort. Some shoes have extra padding on the tongue and collar for additional comfort.

The soles should be well constructed. The midsoles should be firm enough so that they reduce over pronation, where people have low arches. It should be designed in a way it gives you a soft underfoot feeling as you run. The outer soles are made of rubber which is long lasting and it offers great traction and grip which will prevent you from slipping as you run. The grooves in the soles allow your foot to naturally move through the gait cycle. Having a stable heel and midsole will reduce the foot arch which will help prevent over pronation.

Mizuno Wave Inspire are great running shoes to lessen knee pain. Image credit: Wiggle

If the special shoe doesn’t help then you will need to have supportive orthotics which will help get your foot maintain alignment well. See a podiatrist orthopedist and they will help you know which position brings about knee pain by taking your feet models in different positions. They will then create for you custom insoles which will help align the ankle and foot hence reduce the pain.

The upper shoe part should made of a mesh material which allows your feet to breathe as you run and the inner lining should be able to keep the feet dry and cool.

Talk to an Expert

No one shoe is meant for all runners so buy your shoes in a running specialty store and get to try various brands and types of shoes so as to get which works for you.

Make sure you replace your running shoes after 300 miles so that you avoid poor alignment, which is caused by broken down shoes.

If you get proper footwear then you will not have a problem going about your daily activities and you will not be slowed down by knee pain.