Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pronation Doesn't Matter For Injuries

A Danish study just published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine investigated the received wisdom that under- or over-pronating runners are more subject to injury than "neutral" runners. They found that this was not the case. (The study is well-summarized in the New York Times.)

Study design: 927 male and female runners from 18 to 65, prospectively evaluated as under- or over-pronator or neutral, given light-weight NON-motion-controlling shoes, and left alone to run as they please for a year.

From 5k Fashionista.

So what happened? There was no difference between the under/over-pronators and the neutral runners overall; but in fact among higher-mileage runners the over-pronators had a slightly but significantly lower chance of injury than neutral runners. Higher-mileage here is >600 miles a year, which isn't even 12 miles a week, so not very high mileage; "injuries" here were any medically-confirmed back or leg complaint that caused the subject to stop running for at least a week.

The lead author concluded that runners are better off paying attention to "things like body mass, training, behavior, age and previous injury in order to prevent running-related injuries." Admittedly, I'm posting this because what I don't want to hear from the super-paleo "all shoes are bad" crowd is that this study supports their conclusion; it just leans us further toward "follow your natural stride type". And to that end, some of us, your blogger included, are obligate 21st century runners whose build, foot shape and size, stride length, and running habits requires us to wear a well-cushioned (if not motion-controlling) shoe. And I've never had a use injury in 22 years of running with no warm-ups, or stretching, or proper build-ups to big events. And this paper is telling us all that our natural stride/strike is a-okay!

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