Running, ankle injuries and over pronation.

JRW

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Was looking at new running shoes. In the past I have had several sprains and breaks on my ankles. I also overpronate.

Is it worth it to try and fix the over pronation? Do shoes for over pronators hinder efforts to not over pronate? I'd never run in them, but are the minimalist shoes good for joint strength/longevity?

Any other ankle advise is welcome. I do not want to go back on light duty again. Ever. Better than unemployment, but you get the point.
 

voodoo_man

Established
I am an avid distance runner (usually 30-50 miles a week in the summer) and have been for the last 15ish years.

First thing first some information..

Running shoes have a max distance of travel, most are 250-300 miles, some are 500, all depends on terrain, intensity of activity, gravel to pavement, etc...

I usually default to whatever newest version of the standard running shoe New Balance has to offer, I had three pairs of 880's (v1-v3) and now own a pair of their 990's, highly recommended for runners, lots of support, heel drop is 12mm which is optimized for most people's running ability and will make you have proper form when running or else your going to suffer (you will suffer anyway if you have bad form).

I would highly recommend finding a local place that will do either a free or a very cheap running analysis on you. Meaning you go and find a running shoe store or a doctor that will analyze how you run and tell you exactly what type of running shoe to buy. More than likely they will advise you buy some sort of pad that will neutralize your running gait and may help affect positively your walking gait. This is not required but I always default to science on this type of thing.

Lastly, you will know when you should be buying new running shoes when you start to experience pain you have not experience before while wearing whatever new running shoes you bought. Example: for me I know that I get seriously frustrating bottom knee pain when my running shoes are dead or dying. They might appear visually to be perfectly fine but the pain still purists after several sessions. Either try another shoe and/or give yourself time to rest. For me, I have a bunch of work Salomon's that I wear that I can run in (I don't want to, but I can) that I try and I normally do not get the same pain (science again...) then I replace the running shoes and blamo, no pain all gain.

Keep a mileage log (you should be doing this anyway) and it'll be even easier.

Good luck
 
Voodoo gives VERY solid input above but not surprised. When I was a man (insert younger) I used to be in the wkly. mileage range he spoke of but @ 61 20-25 is my reality now. Mentioned only as background/cred. purposes and the 250-300 life for a quality pair of shoes is spot on. His mention of getting assessed by a KNOWLEDGABLE store/Dr. etc. is critical to diagnose issues or help w/ preventing them as is having a min. of 2 pr. of shoes for alternating their daily wear.
 

JRW

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks for the imput. I will seek out a running coach. I currently run like an elephant.
 

tact

Regular Member
I agree with most already stated with the exception of the 12mm drop being optimized for most runners. While I can't speak to over pronation struggles, I can speak to ankle problems. My ankles are pretty messed up due to many injuries and trying to push through those injuries. At times my ankles used to roll for no reason even on flat ground. I used to run a lot of New Balance but have since switched to Altras for a zero drop over the last 3 years. A zero drop has aided in strengthening my ankles and provides me with much better running form. I strongly believe in all the benefits a zero drop shoe promotes.
 

Steindor

Newbie
With minimalist shoes, it is imperative that you take it really easy and slow to begin with. I faintly recall a manufacturer recommending a 12 week program of getting used to those types of shoes before you resumed your normal training distances. I bought a pair of NewBalance Minimus shoes and took off right away...Later that day after my first 3 mile run, my shins, ankles, and tops of my feet were killing me. I went right back to the shoes I had been using before, and was "OK." Those I know that did take it nice and easy really seem to like the more minimalist type shoes.

Heed the recommendations of visiting a running store or running "Doc." All of the internet research I did was nothing compared to talking in person to people who do this for a living.

I'll throw another plug for Altra shoes. Towards the end of my time at Camp Pendleton, I started doing way more trail running and fell in love with it. But usually after 5+ miles or so, my knees, lower back, and between the shoulder blades would start aching, and would stay that way for a couple of days. Was quite discouraging. Went to a running store and tried out the first generation Altra Olympus shoes, which are Altra's "maximalist shoes." It was night and day, I had a near complete reduction in pain in those areas, and was able to log a lot more miles with less pain than ever. Altra's are zero drop, so I did have calf soreness initially as I got used to them, but that went away quickly. Between the odd foot-shaped shoe, zero drop sole, and overall comfort when running, I'm sticking with Altra's for a long time.
 

voodoo_man

Established
I agree with most already stated with the exception of the 12mm drop being optimized for most runners. While I can't speak to over pronation struggles, I can speak to ankle problems. My ankles are pretty messed up due to many injuries and trying to push through those injuries. At times my ankles used to roll for no reason even on flat ground. I used to run a lot of New Balance but have since switched to Altras for a zero drop over the last 3 years. A zero drop has aided in strengthening my ankles and provides me with much better running form. I strongly believe in all the benefits a zero drop shoe promotes.

I agree that if you have a specific issue or previous injury that may require a specific brand or type of shoe, hence why I suggested getting a detailed scientific workup of how the OP runs. A shoe will be suggested based on the findings.
 

Grizzly

Regular Member
*warning hippy like advise to follow*

I'd advise against going straight to minimal shoes. Go barefoot or go with something with cushioning. I've found in my own running (and seen other studies support it) that you are harder on your knees starting with minimal shoes. Most people keep running with bad form and have less cushioning in minimal shoes but don't notice it until the pain starts. Where as with barefoot if you run pounding your heels into the ground you notice it ASAP. The best thing I ever did for running associated pain was run barefoot. I never got to high miles, the most was about 3 miles. But it is great for strengthening your muscles and forcing you to run with a good form. I do most of my running in shoes because debris sucks on the roads but about once a week I'll do sled pulls barefoot in the grass or jog a few miles barefoot to keep up the fun.

To me buying shoes that match foot problems (barring some very extreme ones) doesn't make sense. Its like skipping off hand shooting drills because you aren't good with your off hand. Build the muscles and form to correct the problems in your foot so no matter what shoes you wear you are good to go.
*end hippy like advice*

Another piece of advice that helped me was to wear your new running shoes around your daily life for a few weeks before running in them. That way they get broken in a bit and you get used to them. This is especially true if you are changing shoe styles.

Finally, I'll third the Altra recommendation. I do love my Altras.
 

Kane

Newbie
Many years ago I conducted the transition from traditional running shoes to minimal support/no support shoes. I went from a shoes with stability control (lots of cushion) to Nike Free 5.0/3.0 for running and five finger for walking around. Currently I am using Merrill trail glove shoes with zero drop and 7mm of height.
I transitioned because I read a couple of articles of people suffering from knee, lower back and ankle pain from service injuries. They conducted all the standard Military PT programs at Tripler Hospital and I cant remember why the author of the article I read started training barefoot but he did and had great results. That was also the time when Barefoot running just became a popular topic and the book Born to Run was published.

I feel running with less shoe and closer to the ground helps my lower leg become strong and health, Its doing its job. The process has changed the way I buy all my foot wear for the better.

Less is more in the long run.
 
I have broken each ankle multiple times, I battle Plantar Fasciitis intermittently and I also over pronate, so distance has always been an issue. I was still able to complete the Marine Corps Marathon as well as a Spartan Trifecta because I took the time to go to a good store with a professional staff that did a great analysis of my gate and put me in the right shoes with the right inserts. Not cheap, but worth it. At 43 I don't see myself "re-learning" how to run, I'm just trying to survive...
 

akshayv

Newbie
The steel certainly limits mobility of the painful joint, but the back half of these insoles are flimsy felt. The felt bunches up and allows the steel to slide under the arch - Orthofeet insole is a comfortable or effective orthotics.
 

EMC

Newbie
Shoes are going to be super subjective, so my advice is to go the nearest running store that can do a foot analysis and try what it recommends. I have low arches and brooks GTS series has been my loyal brand for the last 10 years now.
 

akshayv

Newbie
My 89 year old mother's bunion feet are hard to fit with shoes. After searching for weeks on end, I finally found the exact style she prefers on orthofeet -- double-wide, sling back sandals with "hook 'n loop" adjustable straps over the in-step type of shoes. Ordering was easy. They arrived just in time (as planned) to take with me (2 1/2 hour drive) for a Mother's Day. She was so delighted with her new shoes...and...Once the shoes were on her feet, she commented, "They feel so good". It's been a great experience with orthofeet all the way 'round.
 
Was looking at new running shoes. In the past I have had several sprains and breaks on my ankles. I also overpronate.

Is it worth it to try and fix the over pronation? Do shoes for over pronators hinder efforts to not over pronate? I'd never run in them, but are the minimalist shoes good for joint strength/longevity?

Any other ankle advise is welcome. I do not want to go back on light duty again. Ever. Better than unemployment, but you get the point.

In my experience, you can use soft support materials to provide support for the ankle. I used a compression type ankle sleeves after the ankle injury. It is similar to socks and does not affect the activity of the ankle. Moreover, it can effectively reduce swelling.
 

Diz

Member
A bit late to the party but wanted to weight in. Old time runner, blah, blah blah. My experience has been no two runners are the same; you really need some kind of expert advice, either from a GOOD specialty running store employee, or a good ortho guy. It's not so much as the foot or ankle, but the whole system and how it works. Just because you have "bad" feet or ankles does not mean it must be corrected in some way. Very few people are perfectly symmetrical; our bodies will change and adapt to all sorts of shit, like different length legs, feet; different flexibility in joints from injuries and so forth. Sometimes moderate over-pronation is the body naturally adapting to some other issue, which is then fucked up by trying to correct it. Ask me how I know. You really need to get to a local SME and get your gait analyzed. This will tell you what your whole combat chassis is doing, versus keying on just one or two issues.

Then it is a matter of correction. I tend to err on the side of caution here. When in doubt go lighter. When I fitted shoes, I would go with a lighter platform and an insert, rather than a heavier platform. That way the supporting insole could be removed if found to be over-correcting. Also as peeps ran and got stronger (and lighter), correction could be reduced or even eliminated.

I personally don't think barefoot running is a good idea, unless you grew up going bare foot and are used to it, and/or are young and dumb and can readily adapt back to it. This is an advanced technique, IMHO, used more by elite level athletes.

In my opinion, it's about cushioning. Not trying to artificially change the gait, but cushion the shit out of the impact, so the benefits of cardio exercise are gained without beating the shit out of your joints. As you get stronger (or on race day), this can be reduced, but bearing in mind what goes up, eventually goes back down again (as in getting older). So after 44 years years of consistent running I get the most cush ride I can find (Hokas baby!). I am bow-legged, one leg longer than the other, one foot longer than the other, pronate like a mo-fo. But. Still wear a "neutral" shoe (minimal "support") but a shit-load of cushion.

And don't forget strength training. Anything that is "bad" for running ("weak" ankles and so forth) can generally be improved with intelligent strength training. In fact my opinion is a fitness program should be about 50-50 here. Most runners are rock stars in the "sagital plane" (you know just going straight forward) but suck at anything else. So the more you strength train, the better runner you will be. And vice-versa I suppose.
 
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