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Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based?

PainSci » bibliography » Richards et al 2009
Tags: orthotics, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, biomechanics, etiology, pro, self-treatment, treatment, devices

Six articles on PainSci cite Richards 2009: 1. The Complete Guide to IT Band Syndrome2. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome3. Complete Guide to Plantar Fasciitis4. Shin Splints Treatment, The Complete Guide5. Are Orthotics Worth It?6. Does barefoot running prevent injuries?

PainSci notes on Richards 2009:

Are current prescriptions of distance running shoes featuring elevated cushioned heels and pronation control systems evidence-based? The authors did a thorough scientific literature search for relevant papers and found nothing whatsoever to review. Unlike so many reviews that come to tepid conclusions based on limited evidence, this one found literally no evidence at all. Thus, “The prescription of this shoe type to distance runners is not evidence-based.” (As of 2009. The situation is hardly any better in 2017.)

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the current practice of prescribing distance running shoes featuring elevated cushioned heels and pronation control systems tailored to the individual's foot type is evidence-based.

DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE (1950-May 2007), CINAHL (1982-May 2007), EMBASE (1980-May 2007), PsychInfo (1806-May 2007), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2(nd) Quarter 2007), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials (2(nd) Quarter 2007), SPORTSDiscus (1985-May 2007) and AMED (1985-May 2007).

REVIEW METHODS: English language articles were identified via keyword and medical subject headings (MeSH) searches of the above electronic databases. With these searches and the subsequent review process, controlled trials or systematic reviews were sought in which the study population included adult recreational or competitive distance runners, the exposure was distance running, the intervention evaluated was a running shoe with an elevated cushioned heel and pronation control systems individualised to the wearer's foot type, and the outcome measures included either running injury rates, distance running performance, osteoarthritis risk, physical activity levels, or overall health and wellbeing. The quality of these studies and their findings were then evaluated.

RESULTS: No original research that met the study criteria was identified either directly or via the findings of the six systematic reviews identified.

CONCLUSION: The prescription of this shoe type to distance runners is not evidence-based.

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