Bunions, stiff big toe, over-pronation, flat feet...


I've been to see a physio about recurring pain in the left ankle from running, and questioned some hip and back pain aswell.  I've been having the back pain much longer than I've been running.  She told me I had muscle length imbalances in legs, hips and back.  Have been given exercises to help this.  Also referred to a podiatrist after talking about my  feet.

I saw the pod the same day, she said there was less than 2% mobiliity in my left big toe joint.  The foot was also very flat, and over-pronates a lot.  The other foot is much better, with more flexibilty and pronates less, but is also flat.  Both big toes point outwards, and press lightly on the next toes.  My ankle direction is off, but my knees and hips straight.  She advised me that my ankle direction as a young child would have caused an unnatural gait, and my feet learned to compensate, causing me to develop bunions at a young age.  If my feet hadn't compensated, I would be walking around on the outer sides of my feet, and not putting my big toes down.  Thankfully, I compensated lol.  My gait has never led to any questions, because the compensation made it look somewhat natural.  I had both bunions removed and big toes re-aligned 15 years ago due to daily pain, but they are very slowly beginning to return.  My feet have grown half a size at least in the last year.  Pod says this is because they are just flattening out more.  -sigh-

She told me that because of the dysfunction in my left foot, my legs are functionally different lengths, even though they are exactly the same length.  That would account for the muscle imbalances.

So, she measured me up for orthotics - she knows I want to run.  They are going to be 3/4 length.. made of carbon fibre, with a comfy covering that I can have replaced every now and then - but the orthotics should last  longer than me.  Hefty price of £175.

She didn't examine my trainers (I run in stability shoes), but I did when I got home and because they haven't seen much action since I got them last May, the outer sole doesn't show any wear, but the insoles show my toes and ball of foot clearly, and NOT my heel.  Is that strange?  I thought I landed on the heel.  It's a mystery! 

I asked if I should continue to run in stability shoes, and she said yes.  I've seen people say otherwise here and there since I've started researching it.  Has anyone got any input from their own experience with orthotics?

 I think I'm going to have to get some new running shoes, as I seem to have outgrown my current ones, but I've taken the insole out and there seems to be a bit more room.  I wonder how long it's going to take me at gait analysis time in the shop, trying all the shoes on.  I think I'm going to have to try the whole range on lol.

Thanks for any input, I'm in limbo with not running, without proper fitting shoes and  having to wait for my new platforms.


  • Hi Slivver,

    Coincidently, I went to an Orthopedist yesterday. I've got a different set of problems to you but it's a depressingly long list. It's orthoses for me too! (I used to call them orthotics but now I stand corrected, Ha ha!)

    Two things worry me about your Pod. 3/4 length orthotics are rubbish for running; you'll get a blister at the join with your normal insole if you run for any distance. Also, why wouldn't the pod examine your trainers or give you advice on what type to use? You should get the gait analysis done by the Pod not in a shop, surely? Before you splash the cash I would get some more advice.

  • Hmmmm... time for a nap - I agree on the pod looking at gait analysis - that seems a bit odd. But on the 3/4 orthoses I disagree. I had similar problems to Slivver with bunions and was prescribed 3/4 length ones but never had a problem with running in them in that they never gave me blisters. However, although I tried for 6 - 7 months with them in the end I ditched them as they seemed to cause more problems than they alleviated!
  • "they haven't seen much action since I got them last May, the outer sole doesn't show any wear, but the insoles ..."

    Just quoting myself, as I just got really curious and had a really good look at the soles of my current runners just now. They are wearing on the lateral half of the sole, both shoes, forefoot and heel evenly, I would say, with slightly more wear on the left shoe forefoot (ie, black coating worn through to blue, where the other shoe is still black at same position) at the position of my 4th toe joint at ball area.

    Is this a sign that these have been over-correcting my running gait?
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