Advice for a beginner with running motion and shoes (post surgery recovery)

Hello, I'm new to this forum, thanks for taking the time to read.

This might be a bit long, but i think it's important to give all the background info.

I'm 38. 189cm tall. 80kg. I've never been a good runner. Never had much stamina. Haven't properly run since high school. Always had dodgy cracking joints. Always had unusually weak legs compared to most.

Recovering from right knee operation where they removed a large tumor and had to chop some of the muscle out. Recovering from radiotherapy. Two herniated discs in my lumbar.

Because of lots of muscle wastage from being immobile for about a year, i've been going on walks and easy bike rides (alternating days) for a few weeks to get back into some form of shape. After four weeks I bought some Merrel Vapor barefoot shoes and started adding ten minutes of running in to my walks. Calfs were knackered for seven days after the first day, i couldn't walk properly for a week. So one week later I started again. No calf pain anymore, but after the 4th day, I increased the duration to twenty minutes. Keep in mind I jog at a very slow speed. Now i have a horrible pain on the top/left side of my left foot that travels up the front/left side of my ankle. It's been four days now and it's still there.

After a bit of research and common sense, i'm guessing it was silly of me to jump straight into barefoot shoes with no real running experience. I bought them because of the "no injury" and "natural foot position" hype I saw on a few websites. Also, because I felt as though I strike mid to front foot... which i've since found out, soon deteriorates in to a heel strike once fatigue sets in!

I don't want to stop jogging or running because I feel great after a session. I prefer it more than my bicycle. There's something I love about the rawness of this activity, whilst being in contact with the ground.

Considering all the above, what kind of running shoe do you think would best suit me? There are so many variations of running shoes out there... 10mm, 6mm, zero drop, zero drop with cushion etc. I never thought it would get this complicated. Do they really make that much difference? Or would I have ended up with these injuries anyway? Is there any other useful advice on running form or how I should be striking the ground to prevent injuries? Any advice is most welcome.

Thanks for reading



  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Hi Dave, welcome and congratulations for getting out there after all the medical issues. It's great to hear you're enjoying running and what it means to you.

    The advice I'd give is to try and get to a specialist running shop. They should be able to do a gait analysis on your running style and then be able to advice what would be the best type of shoe for you.
    Dave - I agree with Guarddog, you need to visit a good running shop with knowledgeable staff.

    IMHO ditch any idea of barefoot shoes, that hype is going out of fashion now thankfully.   It's all very well to say that's nature's way and we should all run like that but in reality it will lead to injury for most.   You'll see that now we are heading back to well cushioned comfortable shoes and by going to a shop you can try on and choose a pair that feel really comfortable for you.   Also don't try and alter the way you run, just run in a way that feels natural to you and if it doesn't cause injury then don't try and change it.

    Yes, the drop really makes a difference.   A low drop can aggravate the achilles area for some runners.   

    Re the no injury hype for barefoot shoes, I believe at least one of the companies had to put aside millions of dollars to pay off the injured runners with stress fractures, you won't see that mentioned on their websites.   

    Anyway, you've been through a lot and it's great that you're now enjoying being out there and running.
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