Advice needed-running shoes: Hi All I am finally... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
93,506 members124,660 posts

Advice needed-running shoes


Hi All

I am finally inching closer to the edge of the Injury Couch after 3 long months. Am desperate to get back out there but am also very wary as I cannot afford to injure my knees again. If it happens again, I think that it will be the end of running for me.

I got to Wk9 R1 but I should have stopped sooner ( hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it!)- funny thing was; my knees never hurt much when running but OMG I struggled to do normal daily stuff afterwards.

Any way, I have been trying to do knee strengthening exercises and taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Still got some discomfort when coming down the stairs but knees are SOO much better.

I don't have a lot of spare cash, which is the major reason why I didn't get gait analysis and appropriate running shoes before but I know it will be money well spent if it helps protect my knees. I suspect I am a severe overpronator.

My plan is to go back to W1 and leave at least 2days in between runs.

Would it be foolish to try and run for a couple of weeks in my original shoes, just to see if I can run at all before I invest in a proper pair?

Any advice for getting back out there gratefully received!

9 Replies

Hi , first off, I LOVE your name. I felt a twinge of unease reading your post. My knees are fine when I get into the running, but afterwards my left knee has a real twinge, particularly evident when walking down stairs after a run. As it happens I have had gait analysis, am a slight over pronator and have a decent pair of running shoes. My worry is that it stems from my wonky body (i have a slight scoliosis of the spine) and therefore lean to one side.

I'm sorry I can't give you any advice, but I would recommend a decent pair of running shoes and gait analysis can't do any harm. I'm wondefing if I should go to a specialist sports physio clinic. But apparently it's £60 for the diagnosis and first session.. 😮

Very very few people have conditions either genetic or as a result of trauma that preclude being able to run (barring obvious).

Almost every niggle/ache/grinding pain is over-compensation caused by weakness elsewhere. Wearing incorrect footwear is only ever going to exacerbate any such condition. Gait analysis costs nothing so if it is the difference between hurting yourself and not, it seems an easy choice to me.

I would also suggest you put some time into working out why you had the knee problems last time. A little Googling can be a dangerous thing, but a lot of Googling and following up books etc generally gets results. There are loads o really good mobility/kinesiology resources. is a great start.


A good running shop should do the gait analysis for free. I have terrible knees and got fitted for a pair of insoles which I wear in all my shoes now and it definitely makes a difference to how my knees feel just being on my feet all day at work. I ended up buying proper running shoes as well as the insole but there was no pressure to buy either and I managed to get lots of good advice about the right type of shoe for me. Next time I need some new ones I'd still get fitted for the insole as it has been the single best investment I have made in dealing with my knees, then I would try on lots of shoes until I found one that felt right, then I would look on the Internet for running shops selling off last season's or earlier on the same shoe. I saw a pair from 2 years ago in the same style as my current pair but with a different colour scheme in the sale for £30. I double checked against the current style and there is very little difference. You can also take in your current trainers to a proper store and see what they suggest.

Did you go to the doctors when you had your original knee problems?

If you have foot problems you can't currently solve by buying something that matches your feet, and you're patient enough to wait for some major adaptations (assuming you grew up wearing shoes outdoors), maybe barefoot running is for you? Even on something like a tar road it's eventually manageable, just so long as the gravel isn't too rough and projecting. It's just a matter of adapting your feet, just as you'd adapt your fingers when learning to play guitar. (Aside: Weird thing about having callused your fingertips for guitar once in your life, it turns out that they harden really quickly if you ever start again. You might have similar gains for your feet).

In your case this might be exactly the right way to go, because it will help moderate any tendency to push on too quickly. You might feel like there's more run in you, but you'll know that your feet would get too tender if you do that run you shouldn't do, now. And you could cross train on the off days, walking barefoot, and testing what you can manage.

Hmm ... I think there's more. If you give your feet a little "test drive" somewhere safe, you'll immediately feel how much more responsive the unshod foot is than the shod one. The completely bare foot gives you subtle and instant feedback of the underfoot conditions, including sudden off cambers and so on that might otherwise hurt your knee if disguised from you by layers of padding.

I would say, "Why not think it over?" ,but what's to think about? The way to find out if this might be something you can do or alternate doing is to do small scale experiments, and take your time about making up your mind.

The main problem with bare feet is things like glass, which can generally just be dodged if there isn't too much about. (Don't try carnival in Düsseldorf barefoot, for instance. It seems that part of the party is to smash the bottles on the cobblestones. Well that's what my cousin says). A "solution" to the glass problem might be to just carry a backup pair of shoes and socks with you, so if you get a cut, or you stand on thorns you can shoe up and escape from there to think this lunacy over again. In your case the risk might be worth it, though, just because you're going to get such superior feedback from the ground to warn you to save your knees in time.

Thanks all for the replies.

I have always had 'dodgy' knees, as a child I dislocated my patellar several times and 18months ago fell down the stairs resulting in a fracture to my foot and damage to the ligaments around the knee. GP now says I've got a bit of osteo-arthritis

I was encouraged that I could actually run at all when I started the C25K and the pain only really started when I got onto the longer runs.

I did go to see the GP back in May and his advice was to give up the running but I really want to give it another bash. What is it about this running lark? Even when I could barely walk I would look at runners with envy!!

I will just have to save my pennies and go see an expert

in reply to ButIlikemycouch

You may have a hyper mobility problem with your joints (especially if you have had several dislocations of your patella !) I have the same problem although my good knee not my 3 times dislocated one, is the one that has given me problems, which started when I did some downhill running. I think have gait analysis done but don't buy shoes yet maybe see a sports physio to find out exactly what is going on. I feel a short week one run on soft flat ground in your normal running shoes should be fine to find out how you are and keep going with knee strengthening exercises and ice after running would be good. Hope all goes well and you are back to running soon I only had a month off and know how tough it is. ;)

Another vote here for getting a gait analysis at the running shop. I have orthotics (£300! and worth every penny) but didn't want to run in them. Up and Running did a free gait analysis and I ended up buying a pair from them. If I had gone on line and bought a pair it would have been another waste of money - more unwearable trainers! You'll need to work out what solution works best for you but I can assure you the difference is amazing!


I feel for you as it sounds like the same problem that had me on the IC for 3-4months ...

If it means your knees are better protected then yes definitely get your gait done .. a lot of places don't charge for that some do I guess , if you know what type of running is bets for you then you could shop around , lots of good deals on last years styles etc

Stick with the exercises and when you start back take it very gradually .. all I can say is you can come back and recover and get back to running ii am the proof of that ..

good luck and yes take it slow and steady


Oh my deepest sympathies. I too had knee issues I didn't deal with and ended up on the IC for 2 months after graduating. The best thing I did was to see a physio with a strong interest in running. He sorted out my problem and gave me a simple strengthening exercise that I do religiously. I also bought gel insoles to go inside my running shoes to help absorb the impact of running on my joints.

Personally, I think you should wait until you are completely pain free before starting running again. I'll put the link up to the exercise my physio gave me, but, if you can manage it, do try to see a physio or sports therapist to get proper advice. You may be able to see someone on the NHS if your Dr is willing to recommend you' and I don't see why he shouldn't, given that you've been in pain for months!!

When you are ready to run again, definitely get gait analysis and buy the best shoes you can afford. Don't be tempted to buy shoes online if you haven't tried the same make and model on in a shop first; you wouldn't believe quite how different different shoes feel. And, don't forget, you can buy some £7 gel insoles from Sports Direct that will add a bit of extra bounce and shock absorption to all your shoes, not just your runners. Good luck and look after those knees :)

You may also like...