Find Your Shoe-lution!

At Running for Kicks, we know that the right athletic shoe makes all the difference in performance and comfort.

It doesn’t matter if you are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, or if you are a walker or a runner, we want to help you find your perfect shoe. We are extremely active in our community and because of this we have established fantastic relationships with many local medical professionals who are happy to offer answers to some common questions. We hope the information provided on this page will help you find your own unique Shoe-lution!

If you can’t find your answer here, call 708-448-9200 or visit our store!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions and answers from valued experts and the RFK team.

Expert Advice

Chronic knee pain has made it difficult for me to run. Any suggestions to minimize the pain?2020-11-18T09:35:46-06:00

Runner’s knee (a.k.a. anterior knee pain, patello-femoral pain syndrome, patellalgia or chondromalacia) is an unfortunate, yet very common overuse injury seen among runners. Runner’s knee typically involves an abnormal tracking of the patella (kneecap) in the groove of your femur (thighbone).

There are several potential problem areas to consider if you have runner’s knee:

1. Shoes, feet and arches
If you have (a) a flat foot, (b) worn out or improper shoes, or (c ) feet that tend to roll in, then your kneecap will tend to track to the outside of your knee, putting excessive friction on it and causing pain. If this is your problem, get new shoes and/or some arch supports from a reputable running store.

2. Tight muscles
Running involves the muscles on the back of your body, from the huge Iliopsoas muscle of your lower back to the hamstrings on the back of your thighs to the calf muscles in your lower legs. Runners typically stretch their legs, but commonly forget to stretch the Iliopsoas of the back, the Soleus of the calf, and the Iliotibial band. If your stretching program does not help resolve your knee pain, you may want to visit a sports medicine professional.

3. The core
The core refers to the center of the body and includes the abdominal muscles, the upper and lower back muscles (traps and lats) and the muscles of the buttocks (the glutes). And underdeveloped core can lead to abnormal tilting of the pelvis, which can cause abnormal alignment of the leg and knee cap, producing knee pain. It is a fairly unique feature of our practice that we focus on the core. We feel that attaching a stretched and strengthened leg to a feeble core is just patching over the real problem and will not lead to a permanent solution.

4. Weak, inhibited inner knee muscles
Runners tend to get too tight on one side of the body and too weak on the other side. The oblique portion of the Vastus Medialis muscle of the distal thigh and the anterior Tibial muscle on the front of your shin are commonly neglected. These will need to be strengthened to minimize the pain of runner’s knee.

5. The brain
Runners are tough and can put up with a lot. No pain, no gain means no brain! Remember to listen to your body and enjoy a lifetime of this truly wonderful sport.

Steven M. Lubera, D.O. & Mark E. McKeigue, D.O.
The Center for Sports and Family Medicine

I know I have to replace fluids, but do I need to eat after I run?2020-11-18T09:44:43-06:00

Yes! Eating will help you recover from the recent run and prepare for the next one. Your body needs to replace the fluids, sodium, potassium and carbohydrates used during exercise. Plus, you need protein to repair stressed muscles. Failing to eat well after runs can result in a lack of fuel and chronic fatigue.

Your body will absorb nutrients most effectively within 30 minutes of running, although you’ll still enjoy some refueling benefits up to two hours after exercising. If you don’t feel like eating right after a run, at least have a sports drink. This is only a start, since sports drinks provide no protein, few vitamins and only a portion of your carbohydrates.

Within two hours, make time for a meal with some healthy carbohydrates (grains, fruits or vegetables) and proteins (nuts, seeds, cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs or lean meat). And drinks lots of fluids.

The size of your meal should be proportional to the length of the run. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to refuel. Cut your calories at other times of the day, not when glycogen repletion and muscle repair are high priorities. Also, disregard the current trend of avoiding carbohydrates and eating mainly proteins. Runners need proteins, but carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel.

If you’re on the go, try these portable refueling snacks:

  • cereal mix or bar
  • dried fruit or nuts
  • whole grain crackers with peanut butter
  • fruit-filled muffin
  • energy bar containing both proteins and carbohydrates

If you have a refrigerator or kitchen handy, easy refueling snacks include:

  • cereal and milk
  • bagels
  • toast
  • tortillas
  • fruit smoothie
  • protein drink
  • pancakes with fruit
  • baked potato with veggies and melted cheese

Don’t let your next long run be cut short due to a low fuel supply. Rehydrate and remember to eat!

Janice L. Dowell, M.S., M.H.S., R.D., L.D.
Registered Dietitian– Sports, Cardiovascular & Wellness Dietitians Practice Group

Ms. Dowell is a Registered Dietitian and a member of the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Dietitians Practice Group and Weight Management Practice Group of American Dietetics Association. Currently an Outpatient Dietitian after completing her Masters Degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics, with Honors.

As an athlete, would I benefit from regular massages?2020-11-18T09:49:32-06:00

What goes through one’s mind when he hears the word “massage?” Years ago, it might have conjured up images of incense or candles burning, soft music and the light touch of a masseuse. Her job was simply to promote relaxation and inner peace. Today, there are many different types of massage therapy becoming recognized by athletes hoping to stay in peak condition or recover from injuries.

For example, “Deep Tissue Massage” can be the perfect complement to any athlete’s exercise routine. These sessions given at regular intervals (once or twice each month) will keep the muscles supple and relaxed, thus decreasing the likelihood of future injuries and lessening down time during recovery. Whether it’s a tight muscle that needs to be loosened or a nagging injury that won’t go away, massage can assist in healing by facilitating the body’s natural healing responses.

The cumulative toll of repetitive movements caused by running, biking, weightlifting or other fitness routines can result in tight, sore or sluggish muscles. Deep, long, gliding massage strokes called “effleurage” help flush out lactic acid and metabolic wastes that are byproducts of muscle contractions. The wastes then move into the circulatory and lymphatic systems where they are processed and eliminated. Freshly oxygenated and nutrient rich blood is free to move in.

As we age, our bodies’ connective tissues lose their elasticity and/or become stuck together. This results in a shortening of the tendons and ligaments. The risk of injury is thereby increased. Massage warms up the tissues and makes them more pliable and receptive to stretching. Deep friction strokes can help break up adhesions formed by the body to replace damaged muscle tissues. And mobilizations, involving the massage therapist taking the relaxed limb through its full range of motion, results in greater fluidity. Movement is reintroduced to the limbs and the repetitive pattern serves to excite nerve endings that have been ignored.

A reputable Certified Massage Therapist will ask questions about an athlete’s exercise routine. Together they can form a customized plan to suit the client’s needs and schedule.

Dennis Gravitt C.M.T. – Sports Massage Specialist

How can I minimize heel pain while running?2020-11-18T09:54:08-06:00

One of the most common problems runners face is plantar fasciitis or heel pain. This may be caused secondarily by a heel spur or just simply by the repetitive trauma of heel strikes during running. If you’re experiencing heel pain, relax—know that it will get better. Don’t be in a hurry to keep up with a heavy training schedule.

First, try alternating training. Cross train by running every other day and lift weights or cycle. Perhaps you can use an eliptical machine on alternate days.

Second, stretch the foot after exercising, then ice the heel area for 20 minutes. Also, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin or Aleve may be helpful.

Third, check your running shoes. Be sure to rotate your training shoes or get new running shoes every three to four months or every 400- 500 miles of use. Remember the materials in running shoes wear down after continual use. Also, a custom-made orthotic device may be helpful in solving problems of plantar fasciitis.

Finally, if heel pain persists, see your doctor. You may need an X-ray or more in depth treatment.

Remember running and training are meant to be enjoyed—make it fun.

Dr. Nick Andriacchi – Chicago Ridge Medical Center
Medical & Surgical Treatment of Foot & Ankle

What are orthotics and how can they improve my running?2020-11-18T10:16:16-06:00

You’re probably familiar with arch supports, which are sold over the counter according to shoe size; they’re not customized. Orthotics are shorter and narrower than arch supports, and offer excellent shock absorption and a rigid lever for pushing off when walking or running. They’re biomechanical devices that create a near-normal anatomical relationship between your forefoot, heel, leg and the ground on which you walk. They help eliminate the jarring effects created by abnormal motion of the foot. This reduces foot pain and leg and back fatigue, and it improves postural stability and spinal alignment. Custom orthotics require approximately 23 steps in their fabrication.

They can be made for specific sports or for dress shoes with 2″ heels. Each foot type requires its own prescription, and this is now done with a state-of-the-art Laser scanner—no more messy casting.

Custom orthotics, along with shoes from a reputable running store like Running for Kicks, provide athletes with the optimum biomechanical correction and your best chance for pain-free activities.

Dr. Michael A. Buck – A Step Ahead Footcare, P.C.

What are the primary benefits of regular exercise?2020-11-18T10:16:47-06:00

Aging doesn’t just happen with the change of season; rather it is dictated by your lifestyle and how you treat your body and mind. Body parts and organs have a function; if exercised they become healthy and the aging process slows down. But if you have a sedentary lifestyle, your body becomes prone to disease and ages more quickly. With a constant exercise routine and a proper diet you can live a vital life into your 80’s.

Regular exercise can:
• improve the quality of your life
• delay the onset of Alzheimer’s
• reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer

The first step is the toughest. We at Running For Kicks can help you start! Come in with your questions and goals, and we’ll help you achieve them.

See you down the road,
Mel Diab

Mel Diab – Running for Kicks Owner
Marathon and Half-Marathon Runner

Runner FAQs

How long will my running shoes last?2020-11-18T10:19:17-06:00

Even if your shoes look like they’re new, they’re not as effective as when you purchased them. Over time, the EVA or guts of the shoe will break down—offering you less impact protection. If you do most of your running indoors or on a treadmill, your running shoes will last 450-500 miles. Treadmill and indoor tracks have an artificially cushioned surface and will not break down the EVA of your shoes as quickly as outdoor surfaces. If you’re running on asphalt or concrete, your running shoes will last 350-400 miles.

Is one shoe brand better than the others?2020-11-18T10:19:39-06:00

No, we believe all brands we carry are equal in quality. The key is to get the “right” shoes that address your:

  1. Foot structure
  2. Running plans (i.e. marathon training vs. weekend warrior)
  3. Frame size
  4. Past or present injuries
  5. Gait (i.e. overpronator, underpronator or neutral)
I’m a walker. Can I wear running shoes?2020-11-18T10:19:57-06:00

Yes, running shoes are appropriate for either running or walking. A runner’s feet hit the ground with four to six times her body weight and running shoes are designed to support this impact. So, if you’re a walker, you can take advantage of the extra cushioning, stability, and durability of a running shoe.

I traditionally wear cotton t-shirts and shorts to run. What’s the best type of fabric for running or exercise clothing?2020-11-18T10:20:18-06:00

For years, cotton was considered the best fabric to wear while exercising. However, with recent advances in fabric technology, cotton is no longer the recommended option. Compared to most technical fabrics, cotton retains perspiration, which leads to chaffing and blistering. Fabrics like Coolmax®, DryFit™, or ClimaLite™ pull moisture from your skin and allow it to evaporate. These fabrics better regulate your body temperature to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter and they minimize chronic chafing or blistering. Plus, they’re now available in everything from running tops to hats and socks.

What about running outside during the winter? I often feel like I over-dress.2020-11-18T10:20:42-06:00

Piling on sweatshirts and long underwear is not the answer. Instead, use technical fabrics that can both trap the heat your body generates and wick moisture away from your skin. With these fabrics you can wear less and be warm. Granted, you may feel a little colder when you step out the door—but you’ll feel comfortable within a few minutes and you won’t have to peel off multiple sweatshirts.

Do good socks make a difference when running?2020-11-18T10:20:58-06:00

Yes, socks play a major role in the performance of your shoes and the health of your feet. Cotton socks hold moisture, making your feet hot and wet. This predisposes you to blisters. Fabrics like CoolMax® keep your feet dry and cool, maximizing comfort and preventing blisters.

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