I wear a pair of Nike Free 5.0, and sometimes I’ll roll around in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, and both have seemed to help a lot with my feet feeling good. I actually bought a new pair of Asics GT-2130, a running shoe with some decent stability, and they actually make my feet hurt, presumably for the reasons Prof X gave.
The trouble is in the knees. I stretch, foam roll, walk everywhere, you name it. The problem isn’t so much a muscle balance as much as I think it’s just an impact thing. If I walk slower I can sort of walk on my toes, and it’s really not much of a problem, but when I zoom around the gym working and walk around town I tend to walk heel to toe, and the repetitive heel strike at my weight, with poor cushioning, is what I’m attributing my knee pain to. Specifically I have patellofemoral syndrome. There is no specific location of pain outside of just feeling it “in” my knee, under the patella.
RJ, I actually did get some gel inserts (cheap ones, they didn’t have the good ones in stock), and they pretty much sucked. When I return them I’ll look for Dr. Scholls stuff.
On a side note, running doesn’t actually hurt my knees if I run barefoot and on the balls of my feet. If I run in those shoes I mentioned above I tend to feel off balance and my mechanics change, but if I stay on the balls of my feet I have much reduced knee pain. It’s only heel to toe and the heel strike impact that seems to really bother me. In fact, my knees feel a lot better for a day or two after running barefoot. If I do it too much I fatigue and my knees will hurt, but as long as I run and stop before I get fatigued enough for my form to degrade I feel like a million bucks.[/quote]
Do you mean that you get the knee pain after running too long in the Nike Free’s? or just the Asics?
You MAY be right that your issue is weight and impact related, but from what you describe I doubt it. If you can do a certain amount of barefoot running pain free, then I think that movement mechanics are the issue. If it were just impact from your weight, I would think you could see reduced cartilage or arthritis on a scan. But the good news is, if movement mechanics are the problem, it is highly fixable.
My experience is similar to Professor X’s in that Nike Free’s helped me get rid of some pain (back pain in my case) while rigid support now reproduces the pain.
It took several months for my movement mechanics to adapt to barefoot/Nike Free foot freedom. First I wore only socks for about 2 months (because I had sliced a chunk of flesh off the top of my foot). Since then for about 6 months I have worn Nike Frees almost exclusively.
And now, I can feel a dramatic difference in just walking mechanics if I wear stiff shoes or supports instead. Bottom line, freedom of motion for the feet can mean dramatic difference in movement mechanics.
But another critical factor is the hips. Michael Boyle believes that people with patellofemoral syndrome have glute medius issues and puts them through some progressive single-leg work to eliminate it, as well as soft tissue work with a tennis or lacrosse ball. I have been following this protocol, and it has worked.
For example, do pistol squats while absolutely 100% controlling knee position, allowing ZERO wobble side to side. If my knees drift at all during the movement, it causes patellofemoral pain. Controlling that drift eliminates pain. After a little bit of this unsupported single-leg work, the impact activity which used to cause knee soreness for me, the downhill part of steep hiking, no longer bothers my knees at all.