After much research, I have discovered what appears to be my problem! I have been having lower leg pains (which have been getting MUCH better since I stopped running and instead use the elliptical) and now left knee pains (runner's knee) if I try to slowly start running again.
I realize that I over pronate. I noticed when one pair of shoes I have were very noticeably slanted inwards. I have been wearing high heels much more often since I work in a professional environment, but these shoes were slanted even before then. My feet are not flat at all, but the arch does collapse some if I jump or do a heavier step. A wet footprint makes it appear that I have a flat foot. It's even noticeable while I'm exercising in front of a mirror... my ankles go inwards as I move!
Have any of you dealt with this before and have any tips? I plan on adding arch supports to my shoes (my arch does not touch the bottom of ANY of my shoes, there is always a gap!) and to buy running shoes meant specifically for over pronators. I'd love to hear any other advice so my knee won't act up!
Go to a "real" running shoe store with actual expert salesmen (not a chain with kids working there) or to a shoe store with a pedorthist. Have the expert set you up with some shoes and inserts, especially if you have flexible flatfoot.
I adore my insoles. I didn't have foot problems that I was aware of, just a bad ankle. Then one day I put on a pair of shoes that touched the entire sole of my foot like they were moulded to me.
Then I realized I'd never had shoes that fit properly before. I got some insoles recommended by my neighborhood pedorthist, and they have filled my toesies with joy. My feet just don't seem to get as tired any more.
to buy running shoes meant specifically for over pronators.
If you do not already know, such shoes are typically labeled as "motion control" or "high stability" running shoes. This is in contrast to "stability" shoes for moderate pronators and "neutral" shoes for non-pronators or supinators.
"Motion control" shoes tend to be the firmest on the inner edge, in order to reduce the amount of over-pronation as you run. "Neutral" shoes are the opposite (softest on the inner edge), while "stability" shoes are in between.
This is not an advertisement for the store...but, I went to Dick's Sporting goods store in Jacksonville, NC. The young man in the shoe department asked questions about my physical activities, limitations, and goals. He recommended two shoes, neither were the most expensive. I chose the New Balance 654 model ($54). But, it is the shoe for me - an old, overweight, guy who needs support and flexibility - and may not be the shoe for everyone. Like has been said before, find a shoe store with someone who knows about the kind of support you need.
I definitely agree with going to a running speciality store and getting a gait analysis. Most run stores will analyze your gait for free, and some will even use high-tech methods such as video taping your feet, as your run or walk on a treadmill...and then replaying it back in super slow-motion so that they can explain to you exactly what your feet are doing during the gait cycle. As one poster already stated...there are varying degrees of over-pronation, so you definitely want to make sure that you are not buying a shoe with too much (or too little) correction. You mentioned that you have a flat arches...which is typical with over-pronation. High arches are more common with under-pronation. You might also think about looking into the actualy "cause" of your over-pronation. There is a reason that you are over-pronating...could be a muscle imbalance, a leg-length discrepancy, over-tight calf muscles, etc. Also, might not hurt to consult a good sports podiatrist. Just my thoughts.
Thank you for your replies! I've found a place that does a footprint analysis and watches you run, so I'll check out that place. I DO need to figure out if it's mild or not, because that is one thing I'm not too sure about. I have read quite a bit about it, it's just figuring out the next step.
I have also researched about the stability shoes and motion control shoes, but unfortunately I also have a problem with the start of bunions, so it's already very difficult to find shoes that fit properly. I can only wear very flexible sides with mesh, preferably wide width, to avoid any pressure on the sides of my feet. Asics fit me really well with this, and I see that Asics has some shoes meant for over pronators, I'm just not sure how much they help! Have any of you heard if Asics for this condition are any good? They were close to $200, which is worth it to me if they help.. I just don't want it to be a waste! I'll check out the store first though and see what they say!
Like some of you, I also never seem to have the "perfect fit" with my shoes. Perhaps I need insoles made for them, and of course athletic shoes meant to help. Are there any insoles that can be switched out for different pairs of shoes? Just wondering because I have over 50 pairs, so it would be very expensive to buy them for EVERY pair!
Asics does have motion control shoes like the Gel Foundation and Gel Evolution, as well as stability and neutral shoes. But I don't recall them being anywhere near $200 (in the US). Whether they fit is something you'll have to find out by trying them on. The same goes for various other brands.
Note that some shoes come in various widths, so if a shoe feels tight on the sides, ask to try a wider width.
You might want to take a look at the Asics Gel-Kayano 15...this is the latest version of their top-end stability shoe. If I recall, it has a fairly wide toe box...and that is what you would need for your bunion issue. They run about $140.
Corrective insoles come in a variety of styles...ranging from custom orthotics that you'd get from a podiatrist or chiropractor to over-the-counter ones that you can buy at running stores. Customs can cost anywhere from $100-600...I wear customs, and mine were $300 a piece! A decent OTC insert can be had for about $30-60. Some are meant for everyday, casual shoes...and then there are some specifically for sports and athletic shoes. It all depends on your particular problem and how much correction you actually need. I would seriously start with a visit to a podiatrist (especially one that specializes in sports medicine) and go from there. He/she should be able to determine the degree of over-pronation you have, and should be able to offer some suggestions on which athletic shoes would work for you.
I just got some new shoes and so far they seem to help some. I figure it will take time to be able to run as much as I used to though. I definitely do over pronate and was given a selection of stability shoes to choose from. I chose Asics because they felt the best to me and were comfortable. They told me to not get the inserts just yet, try out the shoes, and come back if I think I need them. I hope it really helps! They also suggested I get my knee looked at by a doctor if it continues to bother me with the new shoes.
90% of people over pronate while 10% supinate. This irregular gait cycle does not only affect your feet but your knees, hip, and back. Custom orthotics are very effective at correcting pronation/supination however there are a few caveats when buying. Make sure you get castings while standing or the true dynamics of your foot will not be apparent. Also make sure to get soft, flexible orthotics. Most podiatrists will make hard, inflexible orthotics taken while non-weight bearing. It is not their fault, they are foot doctors, and are treating only the foot. The problem is that the foot has to be allowed its normal range of motion otherwise the excess motion and shock will travel to the knees, hips and back. One further note on price: $200-$300 is all you should spend.
With these custom orthodics, are these to be worn with ALL shoes or for athletic activity? I like any kind that you can remove so you can wear in different pairs. I have over 50 pairs of shoes and definitely can't afford to attempt to buy ones for each pair. I know my dressy shoes aren't so supportive, so I've been trying to buy very small "kitten heels" rather than the typical heel for dress shoes.
Also, with orthodics, would I get these from a regular podiatrist? I see plenty of places around here that make the custom orthodics, but they are meant for everyday use, NOT athletic activity.
It depends where you get them. I would recommend not getting them from a podiatrist as they will usually be more expensive. There are vastly different philosophies on orthotics. I recommend getting soft flexible orthotics where the mold is taken while weight bearing. A good brand is "foot levelers" but there are several brands out there. Usually a good chiropractor will carry them. Remember a podiatrist will only treat the foot and will not look at its relation to the rest of the body.
As far as using them in different shoes, If you get a 3/4 length instead of full length you will be able to place in several pairs of shoes. There are also some models that are made for dress shoes and even high heels. And yes they should be worn as much as possible.
One more note...if you do get them...make sure to take out the insole of your shoe if it can be removed before placing the orthotic aka spinal stabilizer inside. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
I wear my custom orthotics in my running shoes only. My job is primarily a desk job, so I'm not on my feet too much at work. However, I do make a point of it to wear decent shoes with good arch support. I wear either Dansko's or Merrill's for my work shoes. My custom orthotics were done by my podiatrist, who is a runner and cyclist, so he understands the biomechanics of the body. But my chiropractor also does custom orthotics, so that could have been another option for me. And yes, I do remove the stock insoles of my running shoes when I put the custom orthotics in them.
That's great to have a podiatrist that is so active! Most of the ones around that I've looked into specialize in just everyday wear. If I hear of any that specialize in athletics, I'll look into it. The ones I have called and talked to have very limited athletic items. They claim the regular ones will be fine, but the people telling me this are the type that work out 30 minutes a day or so and I do much more than this.
I did see the molds that mold to your feet with heat and wear at a store that specializes in shoes and insoles for runners of all levels, including marathon runners (which is where I got my new running shoes). They felt hard and uncomfortable, but the person there told me that they mold as you wear them. They had many different ones and the lady told me to try my shoes first and come back for the insoles if I think I need them. They were under $100, so pretty reasonable.
I'll definitely look into the removable ones for my dress shoes at work to give a little more support. I wear a lot of open toe shoes (luckily we can wear them here) because I will get bunion pain from closed dressy shoes from long wear. I also sit most of the time, but I do work downtown and walk during my lunch break and I park a little further away. I just pack some athletic shoes or at least some flat shoes for when I do more walking. Do any of you know about any support I can add for open shoes? Kind of like a dressy sandal with a very small heel? I know these wouldn't be removable since they would have to really stick, but I'm not sure of a good, reliable brand. I always see the Dr. Scholl's for open toe shoes, but I'd like to hear if there is something that would work better. I have one particular pair of shoes I wear quite often, so I'd be willing to buy non-removables for the ones I wear so much.
The custom orthotics that I described can work in open toe shoes but they may be difficult to wear in strappy shoes or shoes without a back. They can be made with velcro on the heels but i don't know if they would be secure enough without a little back support. Check with your chiropractor, he/she will have access to these orthotics/spinal stabilizers.