Are Ill-Fitting Shoes Causing Injuries in Chicago Marathon Runners?

News Archive October 03, 2012

Are Ill-Fitting Shoes Causing Injuries in Chicago Marathon Runners?

MAYWOOD, Ill. - Loyola University Medical Center researchers are conducting a first-of-its-kind study of marathon runners to determine if there is a link between foot injuries and ill-fitting shoes.

Researchers will survey runners in the Oct. 7 Bank of America Chicago Marathon who seek treatment for foot and ankle injuries in the podiatry tent.

Researchers will ask runners their chief complaint for entering the podiatry tent, and measure the runners' feet and shoe sizes. Researchers will record how many marathons each runner has completed and the brand and style of the runner's shoes and socks.

Runners also will be asked to estimate how many miles they have put on their shoes. (Experts generally recommend replacing shoes after about 500 miles, but some runners keep their shoes much longer.) Runners who use minimalist shoes that mimic barefoot running will not be included in the study.

Previous studies have examined shoe fit and foot injuries in special populations such as in diabetic patients and the elderly. The Loyola study is the first to examine the association between shoe fit and foot injuries in marathon runners, said Loyola podiatrist Katherine Dux, DPM, principal investigator of the study.

Nearly every year since 2003, Dux has volunteered her time to treat Chicago marathon runners in the podiatry tent. (The exception was 2010, when she ran the marathon herself.)  Usually, between 200 and 400 runners seek treatment for such injuries as blisters, toenail injuries, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), foot stress fractures and sprained ankles.

"Most of these injuries are related to improper shoes, socks or training," Dux said.

Shoes that are either too small or too large can cause injuries. Many runners buy shoes that are a half-a-size or a full size too large, to allow for foot swelling during running and to make room for their orthotics.

Dux advises that when buying running shoes, wear your normal running socks and orthotics, and buy late in the day after your feet have become swollen from walking around all day.

Dux is an instructor in the Division of Podiatry, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Co-investigators in the study are Loyola podiatry residents Bryce Paschold, DPM, and Natalie Domek, DPM; and Jeffrey Baker, DPM, and Stephen Weinberg, DPM, of the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute.

The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.

MEDIA RELATIONS

Jim Ritter

Media Relations

(708) 216-2445

jritter@lumc.edu
Anne Dillon

Media Relations

(708) 216-8232

adillon@lumc.edu
© 2011 Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division. All rights reserved.  &npsp; Privacy Policy   Privacy Policy