Sports medicine study: Motion control shoes decrease injury risk in regular leisure-time runners

2016 - 03 -03

Sports medicine study: Motion control shoes decrease injury risk in regular leisure-time runners

The Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at LIH’s Department of Population Health, in collaboration with the Movement Sciences Department at Decathlon, France, conducted a study on the impact of running shoe type and foot morphology on injury risk in recreational runners. It was published in January 2016 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (IF 5.03), the highest-ranking journal in the field of sports medicine, and revealed interesting novel findings for both the scientific and the running community.

The randomised controlled trial enrolled a cohort of 372 leisure-time runners who reported their running activities and related injuries during a period of six months on an online platform ( Participants were given either standard running shoes or footwear with motion control features, designed to limit pronation movement, which is the inward roll of the foot during running. The motion control shoes were characterised by a thermoplastic polymer structure located at the medial part of the midfoot and a dual-density midsole composed of elastomeric polymer located at the forefoot. Apart from these features, the two versions were identical.

‘We found that the use of motion control shoes was associated with an overall lower injury risk compared to standard shoes’, states Dr Laurent Malisoux, project leader and first author of the publication. In a secondary deeper analysis of the data, participants were divided into different categories according to their foot posture. It can be qualified either as neutral, as supinated, when the ankles lean outwards, or as pronated, when the ankles lean inwards. ‘When discriminating between the different postures, we observed that the effect was true only for runners with pronated feet’, he explains. ‘The rate at which the injuries occurred to runners with pronated feet was decreased by more than half in the motion control shoe group when compared to the standard shoe group.’

Several studies were already conducted on motion control shoes with different experimental set-ups. ‘Ours is the very first to compare shoe models with and without motion control system in regular recreational runners’, tells Dr Malisoux. ‘Our results may advise runners with pronated feet to try shoes with motion control technology. However one should keep in mind that the study results cannot be generalised to all shoe brands and models. More extensive research is needed to confirm the observed benefit of motion control shoes, as well as to identify the mechanisms involved in the injuries’, he adds.

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