Running Shoes with Headlights Can Save Lives

As I watch runners jog at night up Seattle's 35th Street NE, I wonder how many are endangering their lives as traffic flows at speeds topping 40 mph. Fortunately, I'm not the only human who has worried about this.

A daily runner, Doug Storer, recently created a shoe with headlights to help runners keep themselves safe. The Night Runner LED shoe attachment will become available to consumers in June. His plans also include a smartphone app with blue tooth capability so that runners can pace their run or adjust the light. How cool is that.

As a Seattle podiatrist I'm also concerned about safe running. Most of my advice on this topic starts well before you hit the jogging trail.

1. Buy the right shoe - make sure you buy the right shoe for your foot. Buying shoes that are too tight or too loose can be safety issue.

2. Buy shoes annually - running shoes wear out after 500 miles which for most people means an annual trip to the shoe store. If you run marathons or do other long distance running, keep track of your miles and then shop when you hit the 500 mile mark.

3. Go for stability - you may fall in love with a particular running shoe when you go shopping, but make sure it will give you the stability you need..

a. Try to bend the shoe in half and make sure it only bends at the ball of the foot not the middle.

b. Twist the shoe as if you were wringing out a rag. If the shoe twists easily it's not a good shoe for running. Stable shoes barely move at all when you twist them.

c. Finally, grab the heel of the shoe and try to twist it in various directions. You should not be able to move it. A strong heel counter is also essential for stability.

4. Don't ignor foot pain - if you're experiencing foot pain, don't run through it, go to a podiatrist and find out what's wrong. People who run are more likely to experience stress fractures and other foot problems such as plantar fasciitis.

5. Watch out for small rocks and uneven surfaces - even if you're running in broad daylight keep your eyes on the trail so you can avoid surfaces that could lead to a twisted ankle. Of course if you purchase the new LED headlights you'll be able to do this is the dark as well.

If you're experiencing foot pain now, we'd be happy to examine your foot and determine the best course of action to get you back to running as quickly as possible. Call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.