Couch to 5K
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What to do with one pigeon toe?

Hello. I'm on Week 5 (run 2 tomorrow) and I've been getting a posterior (inside) shin splint on my left leg. I first tried Couch 2 5k last year but as soon as I realised the pain was shin splints (end of week two) I quit. This year I got a foam roller which seems to be keeping the pain at bay but it is still very much there and I'm worried it will only get worse.

I had my gait analysed today and my pronation is fine, there is no rolling of the feet at all. I toe / mid foot strike. My right leg looked perfect, straight and true. My left leg, however, was clearly pointing inwards, it wasn't turned inward from the ankle or the knee but twisted all the way from the hip. I've always known I was pigeon footed (my shoes always get scuffed on the inside) but I hadn't realised it was just one leg! I've never had any pain or issues with my hip.

Does anyone else have this issue? Does it cause you shin splints? The woman who did the gait analysis was quite surprised. Is there anything I can do to correct it? Concentrate really hard on keeping my foot straight I guess! Hip strengthening exercises? They recommended I go to a physio but a general dislike of strangers touching me is putting me off. Searching the internet just brings up a lot of stuff about toddlers and assures me I will grow out of it by the time I'm 8y/o :) They didn't recommend I get any new trainers I as have an neutral shoe anyway, it's just the entry level model though so I was wondering if I should invest in the super cushioned version. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for an help / advice.


7 Replies

Hi I have a different problem but in the same area! I have one wonky foot too but this is because I have severe bunions (hereditary, I do look after my feet!) and last year at the grand old age of 35 I had the toe on my right foot straightened alongside all the grannies! The other bunion is not as bad and I'm not keen to go through that again so I have left it! Anyway the upshot is that I now run very straight (with sometimes a little twinge of pain as it isn't even a year since I had my toe broken!) on the right foot and wonky with the left foot, I think I am landing on the side of my foot. Thankfully I no longer have hip pain which I did before my op but do get lower back pain on the opposite side to my bunion which I think is because I am wonky because when I focus on trying to run straight it eases the twingy pain!

My plan is to look into some more cushioned trainers when I have some money just to ease the impact. I'm not sure what else I can do? I think we definitely need to treat our feet though so I am going to do some research about the best cushiony trainers for running!

By the way how did you get your gait analysed? I had no idea you could do that?



Thanks for the reply. Ouch - bunions are awful, I thought I had one a couple of years ago. I'm 5ft 1 so have been wearing heels since I was about 12 and my auntie's bunions are so impressive she had them photographed by a health magazine to warn about the dangers of wearing high heels! :) I went to a podiatrist though and he said it wasn't a bunion but some sort of nerve issue in the ball of my foot. I gave up wearing heels (lots of "erm, have you shrunk?" comments) and it seems to be fine now - I was getting a couple of twinges in the early weeks but I put the original insoles back in my trainers (not the ones the podiatrist gave me) and it seems ok (fingers crossed). This was my right leg though (my left is the pigeon toed one), but I suppose I may have changed the way I use my left to compensate though.

Running shops go gait analysis - I got mine done at Up and Running (a chain), I've heard Sweatshop (another chain) mentioned a few times on this board too. I think a lot of independent sports shops offer it now too though (sets them aside from internet shopping). At my Up & Running, it was £20 but they give it back to you as a voucher which can be redeemed against new trainers or anything else in the shop. I was a bit worried that they would tell me I needed new trainers as they have a vested interest but they were really good and said my existing trainers were fine (although it was definitely cushioning I need and not barefoot shoes - I've just bought some of those, oops!). You run on a treadmill and they film it from behind on camera which allows them to step through the motion frame by frame. My issue was pretty obvious as soon as I saw the film! They are mainly trained to identify pronotion though and I think your issues might be a bit beyond them, you might be better off getting your doctor to refer you to a podiatrist (they should have a gait analysis set up too). On the other hand, if you're happy to exchange £20 cash for a voucher, it's worthwhile for the convenience of being able to walk in and have it done immediately and they will tell you the best shoes for you.

Anyway, good luck! I hope you get to the bottom of it and it doesn't hold you back. Right I've got to get off the internet and go out for my Week 5 Run 2 and try to run straight!


Trish, I don't want to alarm you but what you describe sounds like a form of hip dysplasia:

My neice (in her teens) was diagnosed with this, always walked pigeon toed but we thought nothing of it. She actually had knee pain long before hip pain - it can take years (depending on the severity) for pain to develop, but sports activity can hasten it. Don't want to bog you down with scary facts, I hope it isn't your trouble but perhaps mention it to the gp? Gps aren't able to diagnose it but can refer you to an orthopaedic specialist if necessary.

Again, hope I'm not alarming you but your description of the twist from the hip sounds familiar. Best wishes, message me if you need anymore info.


Sorry about the delay in replying - I've only had internet access via my phone for the last couple of days.

Please don't worry about alarming me - I'd much rather know now than continue in blissful ignorance and end up needing a hip replacement at 50!

Thanks for the link - I couldn't find anything that fitted the description and applied to adults. I guess I'd better get over myself and go see a professional then :/

Thanks for taking the time to reply :)


You're welcome, I did think twice before commenting as hip dysplasia does aound scary but it is often un/misdiagnosed (my neice took a year to get diagnosis). I really do hope it's not your issue but even if it is the severity can vary from person to person, you might not require surgery. Best wishes! :-)


I had severe back pain a few years ago, so went to see an osteopath. Turned out my left hip was displaced, causing me to walk flat footed, which meant my right big toe didn't flex, in turn causing me nasty back pain! She asked me loads of questions about my past, my lifestyle, knew that I'd had an accident involving a head injury when I was younger, and guessed a few ailments that I was suffering at the time. She then gave me a couple of sessions of cranial osteopathy, which hardly involved any touching or manipulation. Then sent me off to a podiatrist for insoles, and voila, couple of months later, no more back pain!

My point is, if you're not keen to be poked and prodded, but have problems with your hip which is causing you pain elsewhere, then go and see an osteopath.

I swear she hardly touched me, but the change in my posture was instantly noticeable as soon as I left her office. Think she may have been a witch ;-)

Oh, and I was wary of doing any high impact exercise for ages after, but I've not had any trouble since starting C25K. In fact, I think focussing on my foot strike and posture while running, as well as strengthening my core muscles, is actually helping. I still wear the insoles the podiatrist gave me in my normal shoes, but don't think I actually need them any more.


Yes, sadly the aversion to being poked and prodded does cause me to avoid the health service when I really shouldn't - so thanks for the reply, it's good to know there are alternatives.

Your experience is really interesting too, I attended a series of lectures when I was at university about alternative medicine (although it bore no relation to my degree); one of the speakers was a qualified M.D. but really into holistic approaches. It does make you think that it would be beneficial if GPs had more of that sort of training and more time with each patient to determine the true cause of any symptoms.

Glad you're recovered now! Thanks!


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