What Kind of Runner Are You?

wet_feet_testDo you know how your feet land each time you take a step? Do you know why it matters? Understanding if your feet tend to roll inward (pronation) or outward (supination) can help you to keep logging the miles by wearing the right type of shoe, or supporting orthotic, if needed.
 
The Wet Foot Test
To find out if you are a pronator, have a more neutral stance or are a supinator, simply take the “wet foot test.” Wet the sole of your foot and then take a natural step on a piece of paper or other flat surface that will show your footprint. Follow our guide below to learn what type of step you take and how to prevent injury:
 
The Pronator:
What it looks like:
 Your footprint will show your entire sole, including your arch.
 
What it does: Pronation occurs when the foot rolls inwards, placing the most weight on the inside of the foot. The vast majority of people pronate on some level, but full, or over-pronation keeps your foot from properly absorbing the impact of each step, which leads to pain and problems in the foot and other areas including the knees, hips and back. Chronic problems, including plantar fasciitis and shin splints, often plague pronators. People who pronate may also experience an inward rotation of the knee and forward tilting of the pelvis.
 
What you can do: Orthotics help to stabilize the foot and minimize lateral movement. This can reduce pain and minimize injury. Excessive pronation or over-pronation is the most common cause of pain seen in runners. The approach to treatment is determined by whether the pronation can be reduced to a neutral position or is locked in the pronated position. If it can be reduced, this type of problem is normally treated conservatively. The most common approach is orthotic management. If the foot and ankle cannot be manipulated into a neutral position, this usually requires surgical intervention.

The Neutral Stance
What it looks like: A “skinny” version of your whole foot – especially through the arch.
 
What it does: The neutral step is actually a slightly pronated gait. Up to a third of all runners have this neutral step. You are least likely to sustain injury or have chronic problems because your foot properly absorbs the impact of each step. 
 
What you can do: Even those with a solid, neutral step need to wear good shoes and practice prevention. Invest in a good, supportive pair of running shoes and replace them at regular intervals, depending on how many miles you put in. A good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles, or 18 months, whichever comes first. A reputable running store can also help you determine if your shoes need replacing.
 
Once you are on the road in good shoes, take advantage of more forgiving running surfaces when possible. Running on an unpaved trail, crushed gravel, or even a track (often made of a rubber composite) is more forgiving than concrete or asphalt.
 
The Supinator
What it looks like: Some, or all, of the middle of your foot will be “missing” from the imprint, leaving just the ball of your foot, heal and toes.
 
What it does: The most rare foot position, also known as “under-pronation,” supination occurs when the foot rolls outward. People with high arches are more likely to supinate, which puts more weight on the outside of the foot, where shock absorption is significantly diminished. This outward rotation reduces the foot’s ability to properly absorb the shock, and tends to impact the knees and impact alignment of the pelvis. Supinators also tend to have chronic problems like stress fractures, shin splints and ankle instability.
 
What you can do: Again, orthotics are often the best way to support the supinated foot and relieve pain. By stabilizing the arch, orthotics help to redistribute and manage the impact of each step. The supinated foot structure is by far the most difficult foot structure to accommodate with conservative therapy. There are several types of high arch foot structures and each has its own unique presentation requiring a specific treatment course. The most severe cases may require surgical intervention.

Running on Optimism

Ashton Burton Running 1Fitness and Colorado weather go hand-in-hand. Maybe that’s why three Colorado cities are consistently among the top 10 most fit in the nation. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, our beautiful state has been just the inspiration that Advanced Ortho medical assistant Ashton Burton needed to build a fledgling fitness routine into a life passion.
 
What began as a 20-minute treadmill strategy to maintain his physique after a successful college football career has turned into a way of life that includes running to work, running on lunch breaks and running marathons. In fact, running has become such a part of Ashton’s life that he’s only taken three days off in the past 18 months, and he’s currently training to run an overnight team marathon that will cover 260 miles and raise funds for active military members.
 
“Yes you can”
As part of the Advanced Orthopedics team, Ashton is a great example of how to Be Active! Since joining Advanced Ortho in 2013, he’s been a huge inspiration, and he reminds us every day that you can take on a new challenge by starting small, and you never know where it will take you.
 
“When people find out how I got started running, they say, ‘I could never do that,’” says Burton. “’And I just tell them ‘Yes you can! You are not competing with me. Just start. You can go as slow as you’d like, but you should get out there!’”
 
Ashton’s path to Colorado, and his growth in running have been guided by this open-mindedness that prompted him to say “Why not?” His 20-minute treadmill work provided the spark to try a 5k and two months after the 5k, his curiosity led him to run a half marathon.
 
Similar curiosity led Ashton to Advanced Orthopedics. The native Alabaman had never visited Colorado before a chance trip. After seeing Colorado’s active life style, he was hooked, and when a friend and former teammate suggested he move to Colorado, Ashton’s response was “why not?”
 

Helping patients find a bright spot
In the past year, Ashton has brought smiles to the faces of countless Advanced Ortho patients by giving his best as a medical assistant, and the Colorado trails and sunsets have returned the favor by providing Ashton with his own share of smiles and satisfaction.
 
“I like the laughter,” he says. “It can help with healing and if I can make one person smile I am doing something good. I try to help patients take their mind off of their pain, or if they are nervous, calm them down.”
 
Ashton has shaved his marathon time from an initial time of 3:23 to 3:15. Never one to avoid challenges, Ashton continued his running development by doing ultra-marathons (which can take eight hours!). He runs five or six days a week and cannot get enough of it.
 
Running for those who can’t

Next month, Ashton is putting his passion to good use by helping others. On May 25-29, Ashton will participate in an eight person, 260-mile relay across the State of Georgia, from Savannah to the Chattahoochee River. Ashton and his team will raise money and awareness for House of Heroes – a charity dedicated to improving the living conditions of military and public safety veterans and their spouses who are in need of assistance in maintaining their homes. We salute Ashton and his teammates for being a true inspiration to our staff, our patients and our country! 
 
To support Ashton’s fund-raising efforts, visit his race page:  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/AshtonBurton/2014RunForTheHeroesRunAcrossGeorgia
 
Ashton’s Tips

As you gear up for running season, here are Ashton’s tips to tune up your game:

  1. Embrace your ability. Begin with an honest assessment of where you are and set realistic goals. Matthew Winters trail near Red Rocks is great for beginners.
  2. Attitude is everything. “When people tell me, ‘I can’t do that,’ I say ‘Yes you can, I’ve been there.’
  3. Feed your body. It’s always good to balance carbs and protein and watch out for simple carbs unless you are about to run.
  4. Cross-training is important the more you run. Your running muscles need to be balanced, so cross-training and exercises such as reverse-lunges, power lifts and core work outs pay dividends and help elevate your game.