Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Reduce the Risk of Injury with a New Pair of Shoes (Sports Med Res)


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reduce the Risk of Injury with a New Pair of Shoes

Injury risk in runners using standard or motion control shoes: a randomised controlled trial with participants and assessor blinding.

Malisoux L, Chambon N, Delattre N, Gueguen N, Urhausen A, and Theisen D. Br J Sports Med. 2015. [Epub Ahead of Print].

Take Home Message: A recreational runner with motion control running shoes was less likely to sustain an injury than a runner wearing standard running shoes. Runners with pronated feet may benefit the most from a motion control running shoe.

Advances in running shoe technology are intended to decrease the risk of injury. For example, motion control shoes are designed for runners with pronated feet, while neutral stability shoes are intended for those with neutral feet, and cushioned shoes are for runners with supinated feet. Unfortunately, the benefits of these shoe recommendations are unclear. Therefore, Malisoux and colleagues completed a randomized controlled trial to investigate if motion control running shoes modified injury risk as compared to standard shoes in leisure-time runners. A total of 372 healthy, recreational runners (18-65 years, minimum of 1 running session per week) with no recent injuries completed the study. Two trained assessors evaluated all runners’ foot posture using the six-item Foot Posture Index (FPI). Individuals were then randomly allocated into either a motion control shoe group or standard (neutral) shoe group (187 and 185 runners respectively). The shoes looked identical but the motion control shoe had a piece of rigid plastic at the underside of the medial midfoot and an area of harder foam at the midsole. All runners received running shoes. The authors tracked sports participation using an online platform. Runners self-reported injuries, which were defined as impacting the participant’s ability to perform for at least 1 day. Overall, 12,558 running sessions were recorded, logging 72,528 miles (116,723 km). Ninety-three participants sustained injuries during the follow-up period (33 injuries in the motion control shoes group, 60 injuries in the standard shoe group). Overall, participants in the motion control shoe group had a ~46% reduction in the risk of an injury compared with the runners in a standard running shoe. Secondarily, motion control shoes lowered the injury risk of runners with pronated feet but not among runners with neutral or supinated feet.

The findings from this large clinical trial suggest that motion control running shoes lower the risk of injury when compared to standard running shoes. Furthermore, runners with pronated feet, who are at greater risk of injury, may benefit from using motion control running shoes. It would be interesting to see if these findings hold up when injuries and lost time are confirmed by the study team rather than relying on self-reported information. It would also be informative to know if we see the same benefits in competitive runners and athletes in other sports. In the meantime, clinicians should discuss shoe type and assess foot posture among runners because motion control shoes may be beneficial, particularly to runners with pronated feet.

Questions for Discussion: In your current setting, what input if any do you have in your athlete’s footwear? Do you assess foot posture before an athlete starts training or buys running shoes?

Written by: Kyle Harris
Reviewed by:  Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:
Risk Factors for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome and Tibial Stress Fractures in Runners

Malisoux, L., Chambon, N., Delattre, N., Gueguen, N., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2016). Injury risk in runners using standard or motion control shoes: a randomised controlled trial with participant and assessor blinding British Journal of Sports Medicine DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095031


Brooke Daniell said...

Overall, I think this was a highly informative study. Recreational runners are often subject to current "trends" and "fads" in the running world, and these claims are often times not evidence based. As a runner myself, I know that finding the right pair of shoes can be difficult, as every type of manufacturer claims to have the perfect shoe technology for injury prevention. This study helps us understand, as clinicians, that motion limiting shoes may be beneficial for preventing injury, especially in those with over-pronation. Unfortunately, this study cannot tell us which brand or type of motion limiting shoes can effectively prevent just the perfect amount of degrees of motion. I look forward to future research that might establish this degrees of ideal motion limitation, as well as which brands of shoes actually provide this. It was also interesting that they brought up the point that only in the past four decades have we begun to use highly cushioned shoes, which cause more pronation, therefore indicating the need for a motion limiting shoe. Also, I was shocked by the high number of injuries endured throughout this study. It is concerning how many of the participants were actually injured within the six month period, regardless of which shoe type they used. I will definitely use this information for my track/cross country athletes in the future, as well as for myself.

Kyle said...


Thanks for the comment. I was surprised at the number of injuries as well. I agree that this is very much the tip of the iceberg with regards to the research. While companies may advertise that their technology is the best, it is not doing enough.

Patricia J. Englehart said...

That review facilitates you fully grasp, seeing that physicians, of which motions restraining shoes and boots is advisable intended for blocking personal injury, in particular with include those with over-pronation. Sad to say, that review are unable to signify which often model or maybe style of motions restraining shoes and boots can certainly correctly keep simply just a wonderful number of degrees of motions.

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