So, you’ve been running for a while, you took my advice, and you wait, got your pair of shoes at a local running store, somebody helped you out. But something’s a little off, right? You picked them. They worked really well in the store. But you’re starting to get some injuries. You’re wondering, is it the shoes? Well, I’m Jesse Funk and on today’s episode Runner’s High, we’re gonna discuss can running shoes cause injuries.
Now, today’s video is a little bit of a personal story about me, a little bit of my background, a little bit of the people that I’ve met throughout my running career. So, don’t take this as the gospel truth, but it is at least going to be my experience. And you can take it with a grain of salt from there.
Now, if you’ve not been with me before, before we get going further, please hit that subscribe button, stick with me around on the channel. I talked about running. I interview experts in various fields a lot of the time in endurance sports. So, you check that out on the podcast, the Smart Athlete Podcast.
So, let’s talk about running shoes and injuries. Now, when I was in college, I got injured a lot. College is not necessarily the best place for a runner to develop to their maximum because the emphasis is so high on racing. But, the first time this idea germinated in my head that running shoes could cause injury came from one of the athletic trainers there.
And I was fortunate enough, one of the athletic trainers on staff who actually worked at the Olympic Training Center and had very high-level qualifications, which was astounding for such small schools I went to. But it was nice to have him.
But his thing was that he always looked at shoes first, always, always, always. And he was convinced that they are often the issue when running injuries occur. He looked at it for a lot of different athletes, but especially for us runners, because overuse comes up a lot, especially in that kind of environment. He believed it was a thing. And I didn’t really put a whole lot of stock in it because I had a lot of weird, bizarre, mysterious injuries that even the athletic training staff didn’t seem to be able to explain in college.
Now, fast forward, here we are almost 14 years later from the time that I met him. And it’s, again, a place where I find myself, hey, I’ve got this injury. Now, I’ve done really, really well with not having injuries since college. I’ve been cross-training, been doing triathlon, I’m coming back to running, the last 18 months, I’ve been really dealing with piriformis issues.
Well, come to find out, I had been running in a four-millimeter stack height differential shoe. If you don’t know what that means, subscribe to the channel, I cover shoes in a different video. And then I had switched to a shoe that was six millimeters because my shoe was discontinued. They didn’t make it any longer. And the shoe that I picked out is six millimeters. I figured yeah, two millimeters, the shoe feels good, no problem. I began to suspect maybe this was a problem. Maybe this is the source of my issues.
Well, I took that to the test. I went and I got a pair of four-millimeter shoes when it was time for a new pair of shoes. Try them on. These feel pretty good. Let’s go ahead and take them for a run. Within the first week, I stopped having issues. It’s just this little nagging that’s been over and over and over and I keep beating it up as I go run.
And then now that I have these new shoes, they, you know, my piriformis, that area glute medius has been healing up very rapidly. This is my personal story of saying yes, unequivocally, yes, I will confirm what that trainer always wanting to suspect, shoes can cause injuries.
Now, does that mean that a four-millimeter differential shoe is right for you? No, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s right for you. But with the gait I have, with the form that I have, that’s the best thing for me. And even that small difference, that two millimeters that my heel was raised up compared to the other shoes, very similar foam very, very similar shoe, just that two millimeters, through my running mechanics off enough that it caused issues in the chain of biomechanics in my body and ended up causing an injury. The problem here being I didn’t pay attention enough to notice it. It was so small, so subtle, that I didn’t notice it and it became an overuse injury.
So, if you have an injury, you suspect it after changing the new shoes, it may be time to look at hey, what can I change to, is there something I can change to that may be a better option for me? If you want to check out those videos, I talked about shoes and a lot of different stuff. I’ll actually link you to my whole playlist on shoes. I used to fit shoes for a living for people with health conditions and runners so I know plenty about that. So, shame on me even for not noticing that two-millimeter differential. I should have known better but it happens to the best of us. That playlist should be coming up here shortly. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.