with Dr. Steve Pribut
We have with us Dr. Steve Pribut for this interview. He is one of the leading experts within running injuries, prevention and also runs one of the best updated running pages online.
Dr. Steve Pribut is a Podiatrist with an interest in Sports Medicine and running in particular. He is a past President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. Dr. Pribut serves on the advisory board of Runner's World Magazine and has a number of articles published there over the years. Visit his site at http://www.drpribut.com and for a nice overview of some of his work - in injury prevention, running shoes and training in general, take a look at his Running Injuries page in particular.
Dr Pribut, you have one of the most extensive online sites about running injuries and running shoes. When and how did the interest for biomechanics, shoes and running first start out for you ?
My interest in running started while playing soccer in high school. I found that what I enjoyed about soccer was the constant motion, flow, and movement throughout the game. Later in college, and then in podiatry school my interests in running grew and so did my participation. It took a while before getting up to the marathon, since I started with 200’s in college. As a young person I had an interest in cardiology and fitness, now I work lower down on the body to help make sure things stay working well mechanically or to help
hem injury recovery and allow the lower extremity to function well again.
While at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine I started participating in the sports clinic and later did a surgical residency and a Fellowship in Biomechanics. One of my mentors was Richard Schuster, who had a near intuitive sense of how to treat athletes. I learned much from watching his analytical and methodical solution
finding process. Dr. George Sheehan was also an inspiration. I attended every seminar I could on sports medicine as a student and early in practice. Sports medicine seminars or subsections of other meetings remain my favorite part of any meeting.
I still look analytically at every study I read. I try to see if it is a good study and look for flaws no matter how it is classified under EBM guidelines. My interest and activity in sports and sports medicine has been around for a long time. And it goes back to the days before Nike was a household word.
Many of our readers have questions about how to pick the correct running shoes for them.
These days you have all kind of advanced gait testing, video analysis etc. But what are your best tips for the more
everyday runner that does not have access to this?
As boring as it sounds I have to admit that fit comes first. Make sure your shoe fits properly and is the right size and shape for your foot. Injury history is important in deciding what features are important. Foot type (high arch - limited pronation availability, neutral foot, and low arch or over pronating foot) and function of course serves as a good general guide. And the surface you run on and finally your competitive event for the shoes you wear while competing.
If you've had no injuries don't look to make dramatic changes in your shoes. Avoid shoes that over emphasize cushioning. This will interfere with your joint position sense and your feel for the ground. Shoes that are pure "motion control" have too much control for most people, but for those who they are correct for, they work just fine. I look at those who come to wear those shoes as a self selecting group. They know it, they choose them, and they run well in those shoes.
We've talked about shoes. Let us talk a bit about training.
What are the top 5 tips you have for avoiding injuries based on all the athletes/runners you have seen in your clinic - do you have any particular thoughts on what training principles you believe in, in order to balance injury risk vs. "optimal/enough training" ?
We’ll keep this one simple. Avoid the terrible too’s. Don’t do too
much, too soon, too often, too fast, with too little rest. That’s 5
tips right there. Every elite athlete knows that rest and recovery is
important. Many elite athletes recovery much faster than the average
runner. And still, the elite athlete generally will emphasize needing
a certain amount of rest each night and those who are able to do so
will also admit to even taking a nap of 2 hours or so before their
second run of the day.
While some people can run every day and maintain streaks of years,
most will need from 1 to 3 days off each week. Don’t increase your
mileage or your speed work too quickly. And vary your workouts. Don’t
run the same workout each day. Don’t run the same distance each day.
And not every workout has to leave you totally drained.
To help keep
things going even better work on core muscle strength at least a few
days per week. Core strengthening doesn’t take long and it can help
ease stresses on your body. Posterior muscle group stretching after
runs is also a good idea. And those doing speed work need an easy and
comprehensive warm up before hitting the track. The shorter the
distances you are doing in speed work, the longer the warm up.
For most people first building up mileage, then gradually introducing
gentle speed work, then strength and endurance work is fine. There are
many variations on this. With so many differences in goals, abilities,
experience and in competitive distances going from 5K to Ultras there
are too many different needs to be met than we can explain in a few
Do train for your event properly. Don’t over train. Don’t
out train your current abilities. And definitely do your best to avoid
A last questions and this is a personal one : what are your favorite running shoes and why ?
My favorite shoes are the ones that don’t cause any problems. Whatever
works well for you shouldn’t change. Don’t chase after every new shoe
that comes out. Look for shoes that are sold in the vast majority of
specialty running stores. There is generally no advantage to obscurity
in running shoes.
I truly like enough shoes that I don’t have a
favorite to mention. And I know that what works for me personally may not work for someone else. Over the years I’ve switched both make and
model a number of times. My recommendations to patients usually involve several different brands. The well trained people in specialty running stores can be very helpful in making sure that the correct shoe is chosen and that it fits well.
Thank you to Dr. Steve Pribut for this insight into running shoes and injury prevention. Do remember to stop by his site and also check out his blog there.
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