FIRST THINGS FIRST

201 Health - - Weekend Warrior -

Be­fore buy­ing a new pair of sneak­ers, Braver rec­om­mends do­ing two things: A “wet test” [see side­bar] to see what type of arches you have, and study­ing the wear pat­terns of pre­vi­ous shoes.

To learn your wear pat­tern, first put your shoe on a flat sur­face and study it.

“A nor­mal wear pat­tern should start at the out­side edge of the shoe sole and ex­tend to the mid­dle of the fore­foot,” he says.

If there is too much wear un­der the big toe, then the run­ner is hy­per­pronat­ing (the arch is col­laps­ing too much at the foot’s push-off), which can lead to arch strain, shin splints and knee pain. If there is un­equal wear on the shoe soles, then of­ten there is a dif­fer­ence in the length of the run­ner’s legs, which can lead to back pain and es­pe­cially sci­at­ica symp­toms.

“Many of these prob­lems can be cor­rected with or­thotic inserts,” Braver says. “You can’t treat ev­ery foot prob­lem with the right shoes, but it’s a good start.”

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