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Don't let a good cause hurt you

(NC) Each year tens of thousands of Canadians fill their pledge sheets, lace up their running shoes and participate in charitable walks and runs. Walk and run-a-thons can be beneficial for both participants and charities, but whether you are registered for a 10-kilometre walk or a grueling marathon, experts say you should be careful to prepare appropriately for your event otherwise your good intentions may result in painful injuries.

“Preparation for a charitable run needs to be done on two levels, with training and equipment,” says Alison Smith, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “And the two levels are intertwined. If you train hard in the wrong equipment, or wear the right equipment but don't train sufficiently, injuries may result.”

The amount of pre-event training required will vary significantly based on the length and type of your event. However, to prevent injuries, all events will require some level of training, with some events requiring months of carefully planned workouts. Begin by reading the training recommendations on the charity's website. If it is the first time you have participated in a run or a lengthy walk, it is advisable to get some professional advice, either by joining a local running or walking program, or by purchasing a training handbook.

The primary equipment for running and walking is footwear, and wearing appropriate running shoes for both training and the event day is essential. Smith points out that whether you are participating in a 5-kilometre fun run or a lengthy, endurance run, you should wear running shoes that are designed to absorb shock and propel you forward. Equally important is replacing your shoes after 600 to 700 kilometres of training. If you are walking, select well-fitting footwear that has proper room in the toe box and fits securely at the heel. Footwear for walking should also provide cushioning, breathability, and stability. If you experience lower limb pain when you are wearing appropriate footwear, book an appointment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to see if a foot orthotic may help.

More information on preventing injuries can be found at www.pedorthic.ca.

Sidebar:

Avoid Foot Related Injuries

Canadian Certified Pedorthists are foot orthotic and footwear experts and they caution that wearing inappropriate footwear or training insufficiently for a charity run or walk can result in:

• Blisters, corns, calluses

• Repetitive stress injuries to the joints and muscles

• Plantar fasciitis

• Achilles tendinitis

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