Have you started running again, only to be sidelined by sore feet, painful knees, and tight hips? Even with a proper warm-up and cool-down do you still experience extreme soreness and achy joints? Surprisingly, old, worn-out shoes can be the root cause of running-related injuries.

Worn-out shoes can cause a multitude of problems in your body. Old shoes can cause low back pain, pelvic pain, knee pain, and foot pain. There are studies showing that worn shoes can even alter your gait or running pattern and posture, making running harder and less efficient in worn-out shoes.

How often should you change your running shoes?

It’s not a matter of time, but of distance. Running shoes should be changed about every 300-500 miles. You can translate that to time if you know how many miles you walk or run in a week. If you walk or run 20 miles a week, they should be changed every 4-6 months. If less, you can go a little longer with the same shoes and if your mileage is greater, you should replace your shoes in a shorter amount of time. If you are just going by time, say 6 months, it can be helpful to take a sharpie and write the date you bought the shoes on the tongue of the shoe. This will help remind you of when it’s time to change them!

There are some other factors to consider when thinking of replacing your shoes. Shoes wear down quicker if you run or walk on rough terrain or hot blacktop. Your body weight will also affect the wear of your shoes. For example, a person who weighs 150 lbs will wear down their shoes slower than someone who weighs 300lbs. Another factor is the runner or walker’s running and body mechanics—poor posture and biomechanics will wear down the shoes quicker. For example, overpronating your feet or running on your toes will cause more wear and tear versus running on your midfoot.

If you track your distance with a fitness watch, it’s a lot easier to tell when it’s time for new shoes. However, if you don’t track your mileage, here are ways to help you decide when to get new shoes:

If you are seeing these in your current shoes, it’s time for new ones! If you are concerned about your running pattern or are experiencing muscle soreness and joint pains, contact us at Rebalance Physical Therapy! Our experienced team of physical therapists can help you optimize your running form, use manual therapy techniques for pain relief and correcting alignment, and create a home exercise program that fits with your specific goals and schedule.

Written by Elayne Geba, PT, DPT, WCS

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