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Foot Pain and Putting Your Best Foot Forward!

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If you are an avid runner, walker, or someone who engages in any type of activity wherein you are constantly on your feet, this article may boast some information for your tired, achy feet.

My husband and I run every morning. I have been running since I was 12 years of age, so I have a good 33 years of running under my belt….literally under my belt….the endless pounding on my feet is beginning to show itself now. My husband began running when we got married 16 years ago. Whereas he used to chase me before we got married, he now runs to keep up with me!

Lately, both of us have noticed that when we first awaken in the morning and put our feet on the floor, the first few steps are a bit awkward, if not a bit painful. This just started for both of us within the past few months, leading me to ponder the possible causes for this problem.

Initially, I thought it might be my running shoes. I log about 50 miles per week, and I am not the best about getting new ones when I should. At some point, I am wondering if I should run barefoot as opposed to putting on my running shoes, as they do get that bad. My husband is equally negligent about replacing his running gear.

I also wondered if my running stride was a bit off due to knee surgery I had a couple of years ago. My knee does not bother me now, but I may have changed my stance and my stride after the surgery to compensate for the post-operative pain.

Here in Kansas City, we have some great podiatrists, and chief among them is Dr. Michael Nachlas of The Podiatry Associates in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. I began visiting his office a few years ago when bunions and hammer toes became a problem. I decided to pursue him a bit for his medical opinions on my aching dogs.

I advised Dr. Nachlas about my early-morning foot drag. He indicated that as long as the pain dissipates after a few steps, this is truly considered normal. He did note that perhaps engaging in a runner’s stretch prior to going to bed at night might alleviate the morning problem. (I was kind of hoping he would also note that if my husband gave me generous foot rubs each night, that would be the most effective modality!)

Add a Comment5 Comments

Barefoot running is great, if you're a caveman. Before shoes were in existence, we roamed the earth barefoot on natural, uneven surfaces (grass, sand, rocks). Now, we run barefoot on concrete and pavement- Not the way our feet were meant to be treated. So please remember if you want to run barefoot, to do it in the sand or the grass, NOT the street!

Alysiak is right- no two feet are alike, so how can you expect one style of shoes to fit every foot? I had the cutest orange and white Nike's that I wore on my daily run...until my arches, ankles, knees and hips began to ache. Good shoes really do make a difference- I got professionally fitted and couldn't say enough about the experience!

August 13, 2009 - 12:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

Podiatrists are simply wrong. Barefoot trumps orthotics and cushioned supportive shoes. Hard for them to see that clearly, considering fixing stuff those shoes cause are their bread & butter. Do the research. Get rid if your PF by ditching all that expensive garbage. Good luck!

August 9, 2009 - 8:40am
(reply to Anonymous)

It would be interesting to know exactly what makes you so confident in your statement that "Podiatrists are simply wrong. Barefoot trumps orthotics and cushioned supportive shoes. Hard for them to see that clearly, considering fixing stuff those shoes cause are their bread & butter."

Generalizations are of little value; supported - meaning documented - research IS of value. Rather than offend Podiatrists - who are medical doctors - substantiate your claims. Otherwise, admit that you're providing your own opinion and be done with it.

August 13, 2009 - 7:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am no expert, but I implore you, before you spend even a dime on new running shoes and especially insoles, to read about the problems that are caused by these products. I know, it's crazy, but I just read the NY Times best seller Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and it cites research that shows running shoes may actually be the problem, not the solution. I have documented some of this research and highlight some shoes that are closer to barefoot walking here: http://bit.ly/HPlxg

August 7, 2009 - 9:27am
(reply to Anonymous)

The shoes that are made to simulate barefoot running are not for everyone. It's important to be properly fitted for running shoes, to have a podiatrist or pedorthist determine whether or not you need custom orthotics, and to learn what types of insoles would be best for you (sometimes, this is trial by error).

I am a seasoned distance runner and have read both pros and cons, and personal reports from runners who have tested various new types of shoes, themselves. I've had to go through my own fair share of custom orthotics made specifically for my running shoes, testing insoles designed for distance runners - and even mountaineers (for the cushioning) - and various types of shoes.

So, where is your "documented" research to support your statements? Care to share it with us?

Feet are as individual as you are. Nothing will suit everyone.

P.S. My podiatrist is also a runner and takes care of our team.

August 7, 2009 - 4:26pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.