Are Shoe Inserts Going to Fix All My Problems?

Wednesday, I went to the doctor in an effort to solve some of my problems. The previous suggestion by the other doctor when I got the cortisone shot that “Oh, I have a bone spur in my foot and might have to get surgery” just didn’t sit real well with me. It didn’t make sense, it had little reasoning behind it, and, um, surgery??

This podiatrist, who’s actually a running doctor, had some more logic and reasoning, but my eyes tend to start to glaze over sometimes and what I retained was: ‘The way you land and the shape of your foot puts undue pressure on your big toe joint. That’s why you’re having a lot of problems.’

This is what is supposed to solve many of my problems:

Magic foam.
Magic foam.

I’m not 100% sold, because I generally believe that if you just stick an insert in your shoe then 1. you’re not solving the underlying problem in your body mechanics and 2. you’ll cause other problems.

But, the doctor watched me run and videotaped me running and said my body mechanics are ok, for the most part. I may just need this temporarily to take the strain off my toe, let it heal, and allow it to stop causing bone spurs with all the pressure of the rubbing joints together. Or something.

And, anyway, might as well try some pieces of foam before getting surgery.

The thing is, my toe has been causing me a lot of angst because I’m not sure if I should make plans or not, but it hasn’t actually been my biggest problem. Here is a list of problems I have been having when I try to workout or run:

– My toe/tendons in my feet are sore later
– My arches keep cramping up into knots so bad that it woke me up the other night
– This also makes it hurt when I’m running and makes the soles of my feet burn
– Mild IT band issues
– My left hamstring (and now both my hamstrings) feel like they’re ripping out of my ass after 30′ of running
– My left calf then decided to get in on that party, when I tried to run on Tuesday, and about 50′ in felt like it was ripping/locking up/knotting
– I appear to be very, very out of shape

Some of these are supposed to get better as my foot stops trying to compensate for the toe injury. Some of them are supposed to get better with time and strengthening and massage. But, some of them are mysterious.

I have been very, very out of shape before, like serious sat on the couch for three months out of shape. I really shouldn’t be that out of shape right now — I mean, come on, I’ve been doing stuff. This leads me to believe it must be partially in my head and a lack of motivation. It’s also been like 90 degrees at my house and when I walked outside to run yesterday I was actually blown back by the sudden wave of heat. This is not motivating. But, mostly, when my legs just hurt so much and revolt against the easiest of workouts, it’s hard to get excited about what sounds like a death march.

Last week, I did a handful of short/easy runs and some Crossfit and one longer bike ride. This week I tried to step it up and went for a longer run and my calf felt like it was tearing. So, I’m back to the drawing board. Either rest and do nothing for multiple days/week OR race a 5K this Sunday and see if racing myself into shape is a good solution?


11 thoughts on “Are Shoe Inserts Going to Fix All My Problems?

  1. Have you tried different (new) shoes, combined with gait analysis?

    It worked for me, and simply because required trying multiple brands and shoe types on a treadmill in store waa able to tell immediately if pain went away. Now I have no pain at all, and needed no recovery time.

    1. Yeah, decent idea. I have had people (including this doctor) study my form and run in different shoes, but clearly there’s something fundamental causing all these issues.

      1. Yea it certainly sounds like it.

        For what its worth, I had the camera on my feet to work out if I needed supportive or neutral shoes, and then I found that the shoes which were most comfortable ‘just standing around in’ were not the most comfortable to run in.

        I ultimately had the left from one pair vs the right of another on a treadmill in a pretty hectic sprint, and it was immediately clear which were the most comfortable. Thereafter, I gave my feet 2 weeks to heal up from the crap I’d subjected them to with the previous pair, and since then absolutely no issues.

        Despite all this gadgetry, you cant beat instinct combined with plain old ‘it feels good’.

  2. First off I’m not a doctor, I’m not particularly an expert on the topic. I however LOVE crossfit, have taken sports medicine classes, and have a TON of experience dealing with sport injuries from half a dozen sports myself. Including running. Here’s my 2 cents, I hope they help.

    First off, for the sore feet after, ICE, ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE. Crushed ice is you’re friend, 10-15 minutes minimum. If you cant get crushed ice, buy some frozen peas and use that. The crushed ice or peas will contour to your foot and apply cold evening. Do this either after your run and you’re DONE for the night, or at night before bed. DON”T ice then go walking around and running. You’d essentially be constricting the muscles / tendons just to try to stretch them back out.

    Arch pain suck. I feel for you on this one, the insert will help support your foot from stretching the arch to being flat when you step. In your arch you have whats known as the plantar fascia (spelling may be off). This is a DENSE connective tissue that isn’t easily massaged or fixed when irritated. Ever wish you could get a foot massage at night? Every night? Get a tennis ball, and step down on it and roll your arch using the tennis ball. This over time will help break up the knots in the tissue and help lengthen it. Lengthened plantar fascia should help reduce the pull you’re getting in the arch. Imagine it this way, your arch is like a bow, the plantar fascia is like your bow string. RIght now your string is too tight, and its hurting the bow 😛

    IT Band issues. You knowing you have the issue is seriously a good step, if you know about your IT band i’d assume you know about foam rollers…? Well stretching the IT band can be tough, not an easy one to just bend and have stretched. If you dont own one buy a DENSE CORE foam roller. Denser the foam the longer it will last. They aren’t cheap but they’re worth it for an athlete that uses their legs for everything.

    HYDRATE! Not sure how your hydration is but inadaquate hydration or nutrition can severely limit a muscles ability to perform. Stretch A LOT, when I was running I did at minimum 30 minutes a day. My pains disappeared.

    If you use a pain reducer/killer. Ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory. If you don’t already I also like to recommend Fish Oil, higher doses can help as some studies say but once again im not a Doctor. Fish oil just happens to be something that Crossfit highly endorses for its anti inflammatory properties.

    Lastly if you already have the spur, and the spur is causing you pain, take it easy. Walk instead of run, when it doesn’t hurt, jog instead of walk. Consider yourself in recovery from an unfortunate injury. You CAN do surgery which may be the best option, OR you can attack every underlying issue you listed and see if you feel any better.

    GOOD LUCK! 🙂

  3. I can assure you that you are NOT “very, very out of shape”. Cause I am. You have probably moved from peak top 3% of humanity down to a lowly 5-8%. This is completely scientific, of course – I am at 17% of humanity good shape.
    I am guessing one very will suffice.

    1. Yeah, logically, I shouldn’t even be out of shape at all. I should be just slightly less than super in shape. So, I’m sort of mystified why easy things are killing me. If that’s how shitty an easy 4 mile run feels for everyone, no wonder people don’t want to do it.

  4. What inserts did doc recommend ? (brand)
    I have a sore big toe joint issue that sounds kind of similar. I’ve been told by pts that it is due to my stiff ankle and hip on that side- causes my foot to roll in and puts toe joint under pressure. Rolling a golf or lacrosse ball across the joint (toe to heel direction) really helps- kind of unlocks the joint. Also this is a good way to massage yer arch. Good luck with it. I know how badly this sucks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s