Running Shoes: Hazardous to Your Joints?
Study Shows Running Shoes Exert More Stress on Knees and Hips Than Running Barefoot
WebMD News Archive
Running Shoes Study: Analysis
Some torque on the knee is normal, of course. "What we are saying is, there
is an increase over what would be experienced just walking around," Kerrigan
Her concern is that the excess stress may contribute to knee osteoarthritis, although the
study did not look at a link between running shoes and injury or running shoes
and the development of arthritis.
She isn't suggesting barefoot running -- a trend that's picked up steam in
the past year or so -- is necessarily better than running in athletic shoes,
Running Shoes Study: Other Opinions
''It's much ado about nothing," says Bruce Williams, DPM, past president of
the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and a spokesman for the
American Podiatric Medical Association, of the study results.
"She showed there was an increase in joint forces, but that's it," says
Williams, a podiatrist in Valparaiso, Ind., and a runner. There was no link
shown between running shoes and running injuries, nor with development of
arthritis -- both beyond the scope of the study.
The bulk of research studies have found that runners don't have a higher
incidence of knee osteoarthritis than the general population, Williams tells
In one study, for instance, German researchers evaluated 20 former elite
marathon runners and compared them to the general population, looking for
arthritis. They found that knee osteoarthritis was rare in the former
marathoners, publishing the result in the journal Orthopade.
Ideally, Kerrigan's team should have looked at many different shoe types,
says Joseph Hamill, PhD, professor of kinesiology and director of the
Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has
researched the biomechanics of running shoes. "For example, a racing flat has
very little in the way of cushioning and is almost like running barefoot,"
Running Shoes Study: Industry Input
In an email response, Tiffany Herman, a spokeswoman for Brooks Sports, which
makes running shoes, says: ''We value the results of this study and are in
active research and development on many unique performance running footwear
solutions at Brooks."
''This includes styles that enhance the natural motion of the foot and body
while offering protection from weather conditions, road debris, and individual