Arch pain

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Marc Howat, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    Hi folks, I would've posted on the new members forum but I have been on the site quite regularly over the past month so I've had a look at a lot of different topics.

    I got knee surgery a few years ago and up until 2 months ago, I wasn't able to run without getting a lot of swelling in my knee. Luckily, I came across Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" at the start of lockdown and I decided to switch to minimalist trainers after I read it.

    So far I have had no knee problems whatsoever but over the past few days I have had some slight pain from my arch on the same leg I got my knee surgery. I've been trying my best to strengthen my arches and I've bought the wobble slant board recommended by the Born to Run coach - Eric Orton.

    Any advice to avoiding this kind of injury in future? I should note that the arch pain has been intermittent; I walk around absolutely fine for some of the day and then it creeps in every now and then. I have just stopped running altogether for the past few days. Unlike most people with plantar fasciitis, it isn't sore when I wake up in the morning; it just comes and goes randomly.


    Thanks,
    Marc
     
  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Congrats on ridding yourself of the knee problems--it's amazing what traditional shoes will do to our bodies.

    How often and how far are you running now?

    Keep the arch strengthening going. That should surely help.

    And welcome! Be sure to join your nearest Chapter (Chapters link above).
     
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  3. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    It’s quite crazy. I spent years trying to fix the problem by going to physio’s etc and none of them suggested that I was the shoes that were the problem!

    Before I switched to running trainers I couldn’t run much at all due to my knee swelling up but now that I’ve started again I’ve been trying to take it slowly. I have been doing around 2-2.5 miles every 2/3 days but my arch started getting a bit sore after a week or two of doing it. Before my a knee injury a few years back I was running around 12 miles a week on a treadmill and I also had football training and matches 3 times a week so I was running a lot back then.

    Most of the running routes in the countryside around me have a lot of hills to run up so it’s not too ideal for starting out so I have been running on a treadmill a bit more.

    I’ll make sure I join the chapter!
     
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  4. trevize1138

    trevize1138 Barefooters
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    Welcome, Marc!

    Born to Run is such a great book. I've read it way too many times. Just a fun read and some great stories. Lots of good advice and wisdom in there, too, and a lot of it sounds exactly like the "Buddha on the mountaintop" flowery language at first that over time you realize is almost entirely practical. He even says it at the beginning when he quotes the Tao Te Ching "the best runners leave no tracks." Turns out that's not just "what's the sound of one hand clapping" meditation focus stuff but how-to training advice. The less of a track you leave the more efficient you're running.

    There's also a very often-repeated bit in the book that I've found can be misleading, the idea of avoiding the "heel-strike." Here's what I've come to realize about that: https://www.thebarefootrunners.org/entries/stop-worrying-about-the-heel-strike.1273/

    In addition, when I look back at my own "transiton" from traditional running shoes to minimalist and now a mix of minimalist and unshod I only have one regret: I didn't start doing unshod training on day 1! Here are more thoughts on that: https://www.thebarefootrunners.org/entries/the-best-shoes-to-transition-no-shoes.1299/

    In essence, I wasn't doing myself any favors thinking I was playing it "safe" by gradually ramping down how much shoe I was using. I went from my usual ASICS to pronation-control ASICS that had less drop to neutral ASICS that had a 4mm drop to Saucony's with padding and 0 drop to Trail Glove 2s and then Vapor Gloves and then Xero sandals. As you can see in my post about the folly of avoiding the "heel-strike" I suffered a lot from that total reliance on shoes.

    It turns out that while unshod the "danger" is literally skin-deep. That skin underfoot has evolved to become both sensitive and tough. It's a sacrificial layer that screams at you early and often. After a lifetime in shoes you've been taught to handle the ground really rough because your feet were blinded to the realities of the ground. A strip of super grippy tread and a snug fit "protects" you from friction when you really need to be fully aware of that friction to guide your movement.

    I've never heard someone tell me "the places I like to run are perfect for barefoot!" Usually there's a whole list of things people are concerned about from broken glass to rocks, to acorns to stinging nettles, poison ivy, thorns, sharp sticks, nails. If you really think about it you'll always have a reason to never go unshod anywhere. Bare feet on the ground can hurt. That's been the case for all of human and pre-human history. Think for a moment why evolution didn't select us to have tougher, less sensitive feet. Tough-footed homonids who weren't bothered by harsh ground only exist in the fossil record.

    I discovered the "cheat codes" to running once I accepted the truth: feet will always be sensitive and easy to blister. That's a very good thing. You don't first develop good form and then go unshod. It's totally the other way around. Bare feet will activate the ancient wisdom of instinct and reflex to guide your movement. It's like evolution putting puppet strings on your body making every part of you respond the way it should from your feet to your head. I really mean that. Think of how you'd move barefoot on sharp, harsh gravel. You're moving your feet quick, popping them off the ground light to get them away from the source of discomfort. Your arms float up for balance, back straightens, head goes up ... all these traits you would otherwise be struggling to force yourself into just happen automatically in response to what your feet feel.

    Keep the minimalist shoes and use those, too. But really leverage unshod training and let it guide you. You'll learn more about fast, efficient, strong form from your bare feet than any video or wall of text. Stay off grass, sand or any "forgiving" surface as that's a false promise. Hard, harsh ground and bare feet are where all the gains are.
     
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  5. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    Very much appreciate the in-depth answer.

    I read that post you made about the heel strike a few days ago when I was looking through some of the posts and it certainly makes sense. I think I was overstriding a bit to start with since the forefoot/midfoot landing felt a bit unnatural but I tried to focus more on just landing beneath my COM this morning and it helped a fair bit. The point about focusing less on your feet also helps; sometimes it can be quite easy to spend most of the time running just focusing on your feet (which isn’t very enjoyable).

    I would try going without the shoes but I stay in the city most of the time at the moment because I’m at university so there’s not really many ideal places for barefoot running (especially because it’s in the centre of the city). Other than that my only resistance would be that you’ll probably end up getting a lot of strange looks when going around.

    Another thing I meant to ask was what the advice is about what to do with your heels when running? Some books say you should lift your heels up high behind you when you lift off and some say to focus on driving your knees forward using your hips. I feel it to be very forced when I focus on lifting my heels and it feels like I land harder.


    Thanks
     
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  6. trevize1138

    trevize1138 Barefooters
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    Just like I said: nobody's ever told me they have access to ideal barefoot surfaces. All surfaces are ideal for unshod. In fact, cities are super easy for barefoot. Lots of smooth pavement and concrete. Any broken glass or dangerous objects you don't want to step on you can see easily and avoid. If you're always waiting for the ideal time and ideal conditions to take the shoes off you'll never take them off. Nature holds far worse and harsher conditions for bare feet than our smooth, manicured modern world. I love running unshod in larger cities. Super comfortable and safe.

    Even if you do step on glass here's what's most likely to happen: https://www.reddit.com/r/BarefootRunning/comments/hnkprd/oh_no_glass/

    It's nearly impossible for me to try to focus on and control all the various aspects of running form and do what others have said I'm supposed to do with my feet, heels, knees ... so don't worry about feeling confused and awkward trying to directly control all that. The best words that helped me was the phrase "run like you're barefoot on hot coals." In fact, even better than visualizing that is just taking the shoes off and running on harsh gravel. It will be uncomfortable, sharp little stones will poke at your feet (trust me, your skin is more than tough enough to take it) but that's where all the magic happens.

    When you're doing that be sure to let your body respond to that discomfort. Don't block out or ignore the pain as is too often suggested by modern "no pain no gain" workout culture BS. Respond to it. Let reflex and instinct guide your movements.

    The advice you hear about knee drive and lifting your heels ... don't worry about it. I find if I'm going slow at my "run all day" pace my feet are closer to the ground. Not as much knee drive and my heels don't come up as high. If I speed up my knees and heels come up. That's just the recoil of your legs due to the increased energy output from higher speed.

    A lot of good running traits are only that: traits. They're signs you're doing something right but they're not behaviors to directly try to manipulate. Just focus on popping those feet up quick off the ground and remember how your whole body moves in response to the hard, harsh ground underfoot.
     
  7. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    I’ll try give the barefoot running a shot and see what happens once my arch is back to normal.

    As for the heel/knee drive problem, I have been running at a fairly low speed and my heels have been low so that makes sense I suppose.

    Again, thanks for the help!
     
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  8. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    It doesn't sound like you're over doing it.

    Is it just one foot with arch pain? Could you have deeply bruised your arch on a previous run?

    Once you join your Chapter, please enable the setting in your profile to show it in your info box, but only if you want to. :D
     
  9. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    I think I may have just been overdoing the arch exercises because I was doing them the same days that I ran. I’ve eased down a bit on them aswell so I’ll see what happens then.
     
  10. Marc Howat

    Marc Howat Barefooters
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    Also, I can't find the setting to show the chapter I'm in. Any ideas?
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    It was here, but I took care of it for you :):

    Screenshot_2020-07-18.png
     
  12. Noodles

    Noodles Barefooters
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  13. BareFootBC

    BareFootBC Barefooters
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    Way too funny!

    When I watched the video it reminded me of my lil’ gray rescue cat batting at things skittering in the floor.
     
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  14. trevize1138

    trevize1138 Barefooters
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    Be- because of my catlike reflexes?
     
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  15. BareFootBC

    BareFootBC Barefooters
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    That and the part where there’s a determination to mess with something that might not necessarily be good for you...
     
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  16. trevize1138

    trevize1138 Barefooters
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    It's like you've known me all my life! :D

    Here's my most recent example of me messing "with something that might not necessarily be good for you"

    https://imgur.com/a/UFbIJlL

    Camper rehab. It's gonna be freaking cool when it's done! ... Done ... in a year or 10 ...
     
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  17. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    :wideeyed:
     
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  18. BareFootBC

    BareFootBC Barefooters
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    That’s ambition for you. I still carry my ‘camper’ in my backpack but I’m kinda yearning for a softer bed...and maybe a roof...
     
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  19. Noodles

    Noodles Barefooters
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    That reminds me of a caravan we had when I was young. The wood was completely rotten, and the poor thing was only held up by the plastic covering on the walls. The furniture went to make a den for us children, the trailer part went to make... a trailer... for a neighbour, and the walls went to a farm where they are much happier and can run around with other caravan walls all day in the sun.
     
  20. Noodles

    Noodles Barefooters
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    Gettin' old... Soon you'll be wanting a bed that isn't at floor level...
     

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