The effect of three different levels of footwear stability on pain outcomes in women runners: a randomised control trial

Br J Sports Med. 2011 Jul;45(9):715-21. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2009.069849. Epub 2010 Jun 27.


Background: The present study examines the injury status in women runners who are randomised to receive a neutral, stability or motion control running shoe.

Methods: 81 female runners were categorised into three different foot posture types (39 neutral, 30 pronated, 12 highly pronated) and randomly assigned a neutral, stability or motion control running shoe. Runners underwent baseline testing to record training history, as well as leg alignment, before commencing a 13-week half marathon training programme. Outcome measures included number of missed training days due to pain and three visual analogue scale (VAS) items for pain during rest, activities of daily living and with running.

Results: 194 missed training days were reported by 32% of the running population with the stability shoe reporting the fewest missed days (51) and the motion control shoe (79) the most. There was a significant main effect (p<0.001) for footwear condition in both the neutral and pronated foot types: the motion control shoe reporting greater levels of pain in all three VAS items. In neutral feet, the neutral shoe reported greater values of pain while running than the stability shoe; in pronated feet, the stability shoe reported greater values of pain while running than the neutral shoe. No significant effects were reported for the highly pronated foot, although this was limited by an inadequate sample size.

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that our current approach of prescribing in-shoe pronation control systems on the basis of foot type is overly simplistic and potentially injurious.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Education and Training / methods
  • Posture
  • Pronation / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Running / injuries*
  • Shoes*
  • Young Adult