Runners and walkers often suffer from lower extremity injuries. Little is known about the relationship between their consumer behaviour towards footwear and the development of those injuries. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate if consumer behaviour towards footwear is a risk factor for lower extremity injuries.
A prospective cohort study was set-up in leisure-time walkers and runners. Potential risk factors in consumer behaviour were obtained by means of a baseline questionnaire related to the acquisition of current walking or running shoes. Information on injuries sustained during a 24 week period after the baseline questionnaire was obtained in 104 runners and 104 walkers using a 2-weekly questionnaire. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for lower extremity injuries in the consumer behaviour.
Forty- nine (24%) subjects suffered a self-reported lower extremity injury. 35 injuries occurred in runners and 14 among walkers.
Undergoing a gait analysis before buying shoes was associated with an increased occurrence of lower extremity injuries (odds ratio (OR) 4.76). A protective factor was caring a lot about the right fitting of the shoes (OR 0.11).
Runners and walkers should pay attention to the correct size when buying footwear to diminish the risk of lower extremity injury. Buying footwear after a gait analysis increased the risk of a lower extremity injury in runners and walkers, however, this might be associated with the increased risk that was already present because of previous injury.
This trial was not registered since this was an observational study and no intervention took place.