Book- The Running Revolution

I'm still reading the book but have come across the section about minimalist footwear and how orthotics are like always needing to use a crutch. I am now very confused and wondering what to do in regards to getting a biomechanic analysis (I think my pelvis isn't sat right after a fall with a full cement mixer nearly a decade ago), what trainers should I buy and do I buy them to fit my insoles?

Please, if anyone has any answers, opinions, please let me know, I am overwhelmed by the opposing advice.

P.s. I have flat feet, always have but used to run barefoot as a child all the time with no issues. I stopped all exercise in my teens and started emotional eating (abuse at home, now an eating disorder) so I am probably morbidly obese. I got my gait analysed and they gave me motion control shoes which I hoped would stop the pain in my lower back (where I had torn ligaments and tendons) and the grinding pain where I felt like my thigh bone was grinding against my pelvis. So I stopped running and got custom orthotics. But I still have the pain- even while walking now. Which is in spite of upping my pilates and hip strengthening regime. I hate wearing shoes and always went for the cheapest sandals during the summer and could walk for hours in them over any terrain for hours, yet I was told that I was lying by the podiatrist because it would have been too sore and she wouldn't hear otherwise.

Gosh, sorry this has turned into such a long and rambling post. I guess you definitely have all the backstory :-)

10 Replies

  • I am a bit of a cynic by nature - and am always suspicious of people who have vested interests. For, example - why do people become Dentists??

    There are obviously people with physical deformities who do need specialist assistance - but there are also others who have weaknesses which simply need working on.

    You say that there is a type of shoes that you can walk for hours in?? If you can do this , then you should be able to run in them as well (or at least in similar shoes with perhaps a bit more cushioning)

  • I saw a piece on a Shopping programme about trainers and gait analysis the other day. They reported that people who buy comfortable shoes are no less prone to injury than those who had gait analysis tests and expensive trainers! I am fine with my cheap Sports Direct trainers, maybe all the "science" is just a money maker?? Julie

  • Hi Joolie, There are a lot of quality running shoes on the market, it all depends on how far you run and on what surface! Arch and heel support would also be catered for if you have your trainers professionally fitted to match your gait! All the runners I know always have this done! It's not a gimmick, it works, and more importantly prevents injury like plantar fasciitis and knee trouble! If you're planning on taking up running or getting back into running then it's a must if you're going to be doing decent milage!

  • I hear what you are saying. However, depends on which research we believe. There is a vested interest in offering specialist gait analysis and tailored running shoes. Other research shows that as long as shoes are comfortable, there is no benefit in buying these services and shoes. I run up to 13 km with ordinary shoes I chose myself, no injury and very happy with them. The running industry is a multi million pound one, I am sure there is some clever marketing going on. If people believe in gait analysis and expensive branded running shoes, that is fine but that is not the only option

  • And these are the points I find so confusing! Thank you all for your replies, it really seems like there is no definitive answer that works for everyone.

    So I reckon I'll get my biomechanic analysed and find someone with an open mind about flat feet and orthotics. I think if my pelvis is in alignment then I'll do some feet strengthening exercises and try running without orthotics in minimalist running shoes.

    I know that for right now my weight is making things much more difficult for my body, and I'm working on getting that side of things in control, but in the meantime I still want to be able to run.

    I'm still worried about doing lasting damage. As a child I just ran, barefoot, trainers, school shoes and didn't think about all this stuff. Oh to be a wee girl again!

  • If your worried about doing lasting damage or worried at all why risk it! Have a pair of trainers fitted properly properly! It's worth it and will stop you worrying about long term damage! Just saying, my opinion!

  • Very simple for me.

    For me, no orthotics = no running.

    Orthotics have changed my life with regards to fitness and running.

    My right knee wasn't tracking properly for 25 years - no amount of strengthening exercises were going to correct that. My right knee and my left foot (toe knuckles) would hurt before - now they don't.

    I vote orthotics :-)

    Don't you dare take them away from me! :-)


  • Well said John, if you've got Any concerns have it done properly! No brainer

  • And as for shoes... comfortable shoes with NO orthotics = unhappy, uncomfortable non-runner John

    But comfortable shoes WITH orthotics = happy RUNNER John

    My shoes are "neutral" (i.e. no particular corrrection or support in them) - the orthotics do all the correction work required.

    So yeah, I have "comfortable" shoes, but it's the orthotics that count for me.

    Besides, Paula Radcliffe has used orthotics for most of her running career... If it's good enough for Paula ... :-)

    Seriously, I'm happy to try and answer any questions you may have.

  • Please please please, before you buy any running shoes, get your biomechanical analysis done by a respected sports physio.

    I have custom-made orthotics and the advice given to me by the podiatrist was to buy "neutral" running shoes, i.e. ones with *no* support correction in them. The orthotics should be doing all the correction work, so you don't want the shoes to be fighting against them or over-correcting.

    I wear my othotics *all* the time (apart from in bed of course!) - work shoes, slippers at home, running shoes etc. This means that I have to (1) remove the insoles that come with the shoes and (2) buy slightly bigger sizes .

    Hope that's of some help,

    Good luck


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