YES, it's February and YES the ground is still covered with snow and sadly YES we are supposed to get more today!! So what's a runner to do? Well last week I had a patient come in and tell me about her "screw shoes". I had no idea what she was talking about, but she raved about them and said that they are much better than Yak Traks (which frankly I have never been able to run in). I decided to look into it.
The screw shoe name doesn't leave much to the imagination. It's just as it sounds, you put small screws into the bottom of your running shoes. OLD ONES of course!
What you need
An old pair of running shoes
#8 hex head sheet metal screws in 3/8" size
You can use 1/2" for the heel, however the 3/8" works for the entire shoe so keep it simple, right?
Cordless Drill or screwdriver (I bet you can guess which one is faster)
Where to place the screws
There are no set rules, however its pretty easy to look at the bottom of your shoes and see the tread pattern. We all know how we contact (heel, midfoot, forefoot) and then push off (typically the forefoot under the big toe), those are going to be your most important areas to 'screw'. You want to avoid any areas of gel or air pockets and of course don't place them in any area that doesn't contact the ground. Some people also avoid the toe area so that you don't catch your toes or trip yourself up.
What not to do
Do not use these on kids shoes! Children have open growth plates and putting a screw in the wrong place can cause an irritation or apophysitis and lots of pain and limping.
Do not put any screws directly under the ball of the foot. This can cause an irritation to two bones called your sesamoids and can also cause an inflammation of the big toe joint.
Do not put in screws that are too long. Since all shoes vary in the thickness of the sole, be sure to carefully inspect the inside of your shoe prior to wearing the 'screw shoes'. If any screws are peeking through remove them otherwise it is going to hurt and cause cuts, sores and blisters.
If you think you want to try this technique, here is a nice how to video. Remember to still be VERY CAREFUL on the ice and uneven snowy ground out there. Ankle sprains and fractures can keep you sidelined when spring finally does arrive!
Run Happy and stay warm!!!