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Running Shoes Need Proper Fitting

Otherwise, expect pain and injury later on

Mail-order catalogs and Internet sites often sell fitness equipment at discount prices. But when trying out running shoes for the first time, fitness experts say it pays to spend more to have your shoes properly fitted by a professional in training and exercise.

"You can get a variety of muscular-skeletal injuries if you don't have proper-fitting shoes," says Larry Grollman, a sports medicine physician who oversees the Pittsburgh Marathon. Potential problems range from blisters and bruises to join paint, shin splints, and even stress fractures.

You may need to call around to find a specialty store with a knowledgeable staff. A proper fitting should consider your foot's arch, whether it rolls inward or outward on landing and even body type -- overweight runners need heavier, sturdier shoes. Take along a pair of worn-out shoes if you have them. The pattern of wear often provides valuable clues to help in selecting shoes that can improve comfort and minimize injury. A feature from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes what else to look for.

In a column in the Detroit News, Dr. Steven Keteyian has additional tips for selecting running shoes. Keteyian, an exercise physiologist at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute in Detroit, also offers advice for relieving shin split pain and ways to stretch and strengthen muscles and ligaments in the leg to reduce the problem.

A previous HealthScout story also has advice for anyone with aching feet.

Consumer News