Forefoot transition and Achilles problems

I transitioned to forefoot running following the Pose Method presented in Dr Nicholas Romanov’s Running Revolution book. About 6 months ago, probably three years after starting the programme, I looked at my latest running shoes and saw all the wear was under the ball of my foot and big toe and for the first time there was zero heel wear. I congratulated myself on completing the transition and noted that it was a long time since I’d been injured. A couple of weeks later I developed pains around the outside of my left ankle, which I’ve been unable to resolve.

I went to a physio at a clinic that has solved underlying problems in the past and the diagnosis was my lateral control is weak - rotating my foot left and right, the force the physio felt at the side of my foot was rated too low at 4/5. As my heel isn’t getting support from contact with the ground now, this wobbling around is causing strain, inflammation and pain.

But a couple of months of strength exercises, stretches and rolling my calf muscles hasn’t put me on the road to recovery.

Digging the book out again, it suggests Achilles Tendonitis is most often caused by landing with the ankle joint locked so the heel is not allowed to touch the ground and/or pushing off the foot to create forward motion.

This makes sense and chimes with my analysis on a diagnostic run shortly beforehand. As I felt the pain developing, I realised I was using my calves rather than my glutes to propel myself forward. It’s my calves that get tight after a run and there’s wear that shows I’m pushing off from my big toes. The physio thought there might be something in this.

I have focussed on activating glutes in a previous running phase, so am going back to that and trying not to activate my calves at all. I’ll also review the pose method.

I might try skipping rope, which is suggested in the book, though I’m not sure if that’s for learning how to land without locking my ankles or for strengthening my Achilles or both. Doing a similar exercise from the physio actually caused pain so I’ll need to take it carefully.

I don’t yet feel I’ve found the way through, but I’m more hopeful than I was.

I tempted fate by celebrating the benefits I believe I’ve gained from forefoot running. I would like to find what I need to adjust, rather than giving up on the technique.

Anyone else gone through this?


  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Interesting, Mike.
    About 2 or 3 years ago I started to gradually, deliberately, introduce use of forefoot. Previously I was very much a heel striker but attempted to get onto mid-foot(?). About a year ago I felt that the forefoot work was paying off, and I used it in some track work, and on some longer runs. Started to become a normal aspect of my running. However, over the last months I have had some very stiff calves, soreness in lower leg, and a variety of heel aches. Now I'm tending to avoid forefoot. 

    Was it a case of trying to teach an old dog new tricks? (I'll soon be 78) Not wanting to aggravate my legs and ankles, I'll probably go easy on the forefoot for now, at least.

    All the best!
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