Injured and confused


I was writing a long thread earlier this morning, but we had a power cut before I could post it. So I'm going to be brief this time and expand upon it as needed by replies.

The crux of the matter is this - After having two ankle injuries over a 3 months period I've just had a Biomechanic/Gait analysis done.  I was recommended a 4-6° or mm arch raise orthotic (my ankles fall inwards)! I couldn't afford it so was given a cheaper alternative to get by on.

I'm skeptical about orthothics, as opinion is divided about there use. After about 1 hour I developed hot spots on my heal and ball of my foot. (never had that before). It's my understanding that if orthothics aren't comfortable then they aren't doing the job. I've also read that the body will just engage other muscles to produce the bodies natural forward movement.

I was also told not to wear my vivobarefoot everyday shoes or my minimalist trail shoes. I should buy a shoe with a stiff structure to support my foot.  Also almost my entire leg muscles were very tight due to my shoes. I was given stretching excerises to do twice a day. Well, I did them on the evening and in the morning I was bloody stiff all over - Tight achilles just from excerises, is that right?

I do love feeling the gorund, but I also want to run injury free for more than a few months. So is my skepticism about orthotics and big clunky shoes getting in the way of making a rational decision.

Can you correct pronating ankles without orthotics?

Hope someone out there can help.




  • This is one of the most controversial areas of running.

    Shoes:-  pronation;  gait analysis;  foot strike;  orthotics;  biomechanics etc.

    As you say, opinion is divided. It will always be that way. You will get some people that will swear by one way and others another.

    I think that you need to find an approach that works for you and that you are comfortable with and stick with it.  I don't believe there will ever be a consensus or one size fits all approach. 

    I have no expertise in this area but for me, I would consider addressing the imbalance through exercise. There are exercises targeted at over pronation - which in itself isn't a fault, it's just what some people do naturally so does it need correcting? I think a lot of this is marketing targeted at our own insecurities.

    If you go to a shop that sells minimalist or barefoot shoes they will tell you that's best and will promote that, if you go to a shop that uses gait analysis then they will try to sell you shoes based on that approach.

    If you are doing stretching exercises then it is recommended that you warm the muscles up first as stretching cold muscles can cause injury.

    If tight muscles from running are a problem for you then there are a few things that you can do to help. Go swimming, do swimming drills, (you can find a whole host on youtube), do dynamic stretching exercises mid run, do some flexibility exercises mid run or after your run. Deal with any inflamation with for example, ice bath straight after a run, warm bath in the evening, foam roller, massage or the stick.

    As I said, find one approach you like and stick with it, you don't have to have big clumpy shoes if you prefer barefoot, jut be aware of the pros and cons and work with what you have.

  • Thanks for the unbiased advice,

    At the moment I've decided to do more exercises, much like you suggest. On the shoe issue I'm still unsure. I'd prefer to run in a more minimal shoe, as I like the feedback your foot gets. However with these injuries, I've discovered that my body needs more conditioning and a more supportive/cushioned shoe my put less pressure on my body.  As the goal is painfree running I can't make my mind up at the moment.

    Git my first yoga lesson on Thursday. Maybe that will help with core muscles and flexibility.

    Thanks again. Very sensible advice.

  • Hi. you said you've developed this problem over the last 3 months. Is that how long you've been running? Because from what I've read the bones are weakest at this point and it's when your fitness starts to improve and with it your mileage hence lots of injuries. I like the idea of bare foot runnig and am starting some myself but only 10 mins at a time no more the 3 times a week.

    As for orthotics and stiff shoes, I was wearing them for 10 years because of a high arch which was over strained from weight training, I'm now weaning myself of them but still wearing then 50% of the time bith running and not, I believe my feet need support and resting after training without support.

    For streching I do straight and bent leg calf streches against the wall and roll my foot on a rolling pin and stand on steps and let my heel drop down. Found these good.

  • Hi Seth,

    Sounds like you and I are on a similar path.  I've been running for about 6 months in total with the best part of one month injured (not continuously!).

    I'm doing similar exercises, but running is secondary at the moment. I've also just started getting out on the bike, 2 a week about 5mile routes - good for the quads!

    I've decided not to use the orthotics, but haven't decided on a new shoe to replace the Kinvaras 3, I just don't like them at all.

    Good luck on your progression.

  • I have a fallen arch and wore orthotics successfully for a few years. Then forgot to wear them on a backpacking trip and damaged my posterior tibialis tendon as a result. Have since had heaps of physio focussing on 'listening foot' exercises which have enabled me to have a better foot position plus glute strengthening. So, I think one's foot position possibly can be improved and I am left wondering if I had taken this approach in the beginning rather than having orthotics maybe I would not have got injured? Who knows.

  • I have collapsed arches but that depends on who you ask though!

    Physio says I have, or at least said I had last time I went.

    Podiatrist agrees with physio and I have orthotics which I use for walking around.

    Gentleman who fitted my most recent ski boots in Frnace disagrees, said it's b*ll*cks!

    Gentleman who provided gait analysis says I do not need orthotics.

    So, I do where orthotics for walking about in and have done for many years but I do not wear then for running or skiing. This leads me to believe my gait for walking is different to running.

    I actually run in barefoot shoes and have had absolutely no ill effects, though it was a slow conversion from neutral shoes.

    If you have been running for years and only just got injured, blaming it on your ankles would seem strange to me because it would have effected you long before this I would hvae thought

    Don't know if this helps really but as someone else said it depends on who you ask and then you have to decide. I would seek out a sports physio, your general physio's are not always that helpful.

  • It certainly is a two camp subject this orthotics. I've only been running for 6months and before that nothing for 25+ years. Also just recovering from fozen shoulders (both of them!).

    I couldn't do any exercise at all for over 14months, that's why I took up running 6 months ago. It was the only thing I could do!

    Nice to hear other peoples experiences though, and I now think I'm on the right track.

    For those who may have read an earlier reply of mine. Yoga was GREAT!!!

  • My (very) brief reply would be

    Stability stability stabiity   .. core and calf strengthening  image

    Address the cause and not the symptom, good luck 

  • I agree with addressing the cause but if something hurts I'm taking pain killers.

  • +1 on the yoga Laurence. I started early November and really feel it's helped with form and flexibility. Lot less niggles now and any I do have seem to have gone after my yoga class. Left heel and hip seem a lot better. Hope I'm not tempting fate!
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