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Wearing ill-fitting or incorrect footwear while running is the main cause of lower limb injuries, such as heel pain, ankle sprains, muscle fatigue and stress injuries.
What is important in a pair of running shoes is not how they look, but how well they fit you.
Running shoes must be carefully chosen to suit your running style in order to prevent injury while running.
Podiatrist Tay Kai Ming says runners should consider mileage, pace and performance requirements when choosing the right pair of running shoes. -- ST PHOTOS: EDWARD TEO
Each shoe company has its own philosophy and technology in shoe design.
Consumers should be discerning of these technological and marketing fads when choosing shoes, said Mr Tay Kai Ming, a podiatrist at the Changi General Hospital.
The key considerations include stability, cushioning, durability and especially comfort, he added.
Runners should take into account mileage, pace and performance requirements when choosing their footwear.
For example, a marathon runner will need shoes with increased durability, whereas a non-competitive runner covering far shorter distances may require shoes with only general cushioning.
The choice of shoes will depend on the frequency of use for assorted training and for competition.
The terrain is also a factor. There are a variety of shoes catering to running on different terrains, such as road, track or trail.
Wearing footwear that matches the terrain improves grip and stability. Wearing ill-fitting or ill-suited shoes creates risk of injuries from slipping or tripping.
Also, do not forget about body weight, said Mr Tay, which should be taken into account. Heavier runners will require more durable shoes, and may find unsuitable footwear wearing out quickly. A person keen to start running should be careful when choosing running shoes.
Amateur runners should consult a sports medicine doctor or a podiatrist if they are experiencing existing lower limb injuries or have difficulties finding appropriate shoes.
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on January 31, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.