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Cushioned Shoes And Injury

Cushioned Shoes And Injury featured image

Do you spend extra money on running shoes with extra cushioning that is supposed to absorb shock and prevent injuries? I certainly do. But a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds added padding made no difference in who got hurt.

Researchers tested identical-looking shoes with different levels of cushioning in a blind trial. They found overall fitness and body weight made a difference to injury rates, but shoe-softness did not.

The researchers randomly divided the 250 participants into two groups. The men and women were all between the ages of 30 and 50 years old, and all ran a minimum of 10 miles a week. They had body mass indexes ranging from normal to slightly overweight. The shoes they received appeared identical except that half of the pairs had a soft spongy layer.

Out of the 69 runners whose injuries were counted, 32 used the hard-soled sneakers, and 37 used the softer-soled shoes.

The researchers found heavier runners were about 13 percent more likely to have injuries and shoe cushioning did not modify their extra risk. Having a previous injury added about 75 percent to runners’ injury risk and higher-intensity training added 39 percent.

On the other hand, previous running experience more than halved injury risk.

As a follow-up, the researchers will test see whether regularly switching among different shoe types may be protective, and they will also investigate the effects of those so-called barefoot running shoes.

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