Choosing the right shoes and isometrics for tendon pain

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

Taking a break from the always good to read Sweat Science blog, I have a couple links here that go into topics I find very interesting.

Choosing the right shoes

For some time, I’ve been a fan of choosing shoes based on what feels good. Some recent evidence backs me up on this. However, the consensus is still motion control for heavy pronators, cushion for under pronators and something in the middle for neutral runners.

Well, with growing evidence, maybe this will change:

Our bodies are actually “very good judges” of how each of us should move and run, he said. When we ignore or fight our bodies’ natural movement pattern, he said, such as by trying to control pronation, the risk of injury rises.

Instead, he said, we should pay close attention to our body’s opinion about running shoe options.

It has always seemed like common sense to me. If your shoes don’t feel good, they are going to cause problems. I’m still a little split on whether you should get motion control or cushioned shoes based on the amount you pronate but this just reinforces my instinct that, if the shoe doesn’t feel good, it’s not going to work for you.

So, whatever you decide to do about the other factors, make sure you’re buying shoes that feel good. If you ignore this one step, you’re asking for problems.

Isometrics for tendon pain

For some time, we’ve known that eccentric exercises (lengthening the muscle while contracting it or the "negative" in weight lifting terms) are good for treating tendon pain. However, these exercises are also very painful to perform.

What if there were a better way? That’s what some researchers asked.

The result? It appears isometric exercises (contracting the muscle while neither lengthening or shortening) are quite effective and less painful.

An interesting takeaway they offered:

The most important thing from the research? Tendons seem to love heavy isometric load and it reduced tendon pain immediately.

They are calling for more research and I second them. This initial result, though, seems very promising.

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