Saturday, March 8, 2014

Once upon a time there was a girl and her shoes...

 If you haven't been able to keep up with my shoe woes (who could?) here's a little story to get you up to speed:

Once upon a time there was a lovely amazing unique snowflake named Karen who was extremely frustrated with SHOES. 

  When she first started running years ago she had developed runners knee and quit running because she had no clue that her shoes could have possibly be causing it.  That was when she was just running in a pair of shoes she likely grabbed from Target.  

When she started running again, she bought her first pair of Asics, trained for a year or so and developed horrible plantar fasciitis.  She still didn't know much about shoes back then.

 She had to stop running for 10 months and do much taping and slowly building back up to get back to where she could run again.   She researched for hours and hours and knew more about shoes now than she cared to admit.  She decided to try lower drop shoes to fix the problem.  She chose  Brooks PureFlows, which were a 4mm drop minimal shoe and even tried Vibrams for a bit.  She fell DEEPLY in love with her Brooks PureFlows and bought more in every color you can think of. LOL

Her calves hurt a bit in the beginning, but nothing that compression sleeves couldn't help and she went slow. 

 And the calf pain went away and she loved and loved and loved her shoes.  All spring and summer she took selfies of them and rotated them as she trained for her first 10K and started to up her mileage for her first half marathon.

 and then out of nowhere after an 8 mile run, her heel started hurting.  A lot.  It burned when she put her shoe on.  Icing, resting, and the norm didn't really help.  Researched pointed to achilles bursitis in the heel.  She was out for almost 2 months.
 There were desperate acts.  
Cross training and even attempted runs in flip flops. 

and in real desperation to run, the cutting of the back of the shoe.  It worked but wasn't a permanent solution.  Adding the heal seats in the shoes seemed to help a bit though...hmm...

So after accepting that she had to let go of her beloved PureFlows because they were most likely causing the heel bursitis b/c of the low drop, she went back to regular trainers.  Brooks Ghost.

They were pretty, but the love was not there the way it was for her old PureFlows.  They weren't as comfortable, but...they did the job.  The heel bursitis was gone nearly overnight after adding the heel back in.  Yay, right??? Maybe.

Training continued for her first half and although she didn't love her new shoes, she was glad to be able to run again and build her mileage up.  Until her knees started hurting.  More rest...more knee never got better, she had to cut back on her mileage and only got to 10 miles before the race.  There was no way to change shoes right before her race, but in the back of her head, she wondered if the knee pain was caused by these shoes.  Race day came and she was able to push through the knee pain and complete her goal!  

Pain is temporary, however, and after crossing that finish line and recovering for over a week and a half, she decided to run again but this time in the old PureFlows (not the cut ones! LOL) 

Out she went for her run and again fell in love with her low drop shoes within seconds.  2.5 miles later and guess what?  NO KNEE PAIN!!!!!!  No knee pain in these low drop shoes! It had been 2 months since she had run without knee pain.   She immediately went to the computer and decided to use her bday gift card to purchase some Altra Torins (also low drop shoes).  

The next day she went on a 4 mile walk with her husband in her PureFlows...and came home with a nagging feeling in her heel.  No!!!!!!

 That's right.  The low drop shoes are perfect for her knees but cause achilles bursitis in her heel.  The higher/regular drop shoes fix the achilles issue but cause horrible knee problems.  And here our story ends because there is no ending to this story.  It's just left up in the air, just like our heroine...with no working shoes. 

I was thinking middle-of-the-way drop shoes? 8mm?  Low drop shoes but with a heel cushion insert that will raise my heels a bit? Other than that, I'm at a complete loss, feeling like I have to choose one injury over the other.  

Anyone brilliant out there who has a suggestion? Do you ever feel like you are choosing one injury over another or that you just cannot find the right shoe?


  1. Replies
    1. I've considered them, but they are zero drop as well, so probably will cause the same issues.

  2. Ugh! Just, ugh! I'm trying to fully transition to my Torins and so far (fingers crossed) they haven't caused my Achilles to flare up again. Maybe the heel insert will get you to that perfect fit that makes your knee and Achilles both good. Have you been doing calf stretches? My PT insisted that my Achilles was caused by tight calves, so I use the stick, stretch after runs and massage massage, massage those dumb calves... I have to say, I don't like Brooks for me, they are what I was wearing when my Achilles started getting tweaky so I still blame them for that problem. Maybe the Torins will do better for you...

    1. That's what I'm thinking. If I add a heal insert it might lift it enough? *sigh* I already tried to cancel the Torin order but think it's too late. I do calf stretches like they are going out of style! I have to giggle that you are transitioning into Torins and I just bought some. Twinkie. ;) Oh and I nearly took a picture of a package of twinkies in the store the other day and sent it to you. I was just walking along, minding my own business, and when I saw them I laughed and thought of you! LOL

    2. That's funny! I bought the Torins back in December maybe and have been using them on about half of my short runs. I do like them a lot and I'd think it's worth a try to see if they help with the knee without hurting your heel. Maybe it's just the Brooks!

  3. Have you thought about going to see a sports physical therapist? They may be able to help you with this conundrum you have. I have a running friend that has had pain in her calves and ankle since the day she started running. She started to see a sports PT and they fit her with running orthodics that helped to level and correct her foot when she ran, alleviating the pain she felt when running with the shoe by itself.
    Sometimes all you need is a slight adjustment to the inside of the shoe to help with the pain you get from all the striking. Maybe some custom inserts will help you get your running mojo back...without all the pain.

    1. I've considered it Lena, but I don't have insurance, so I'm guessing that's pretty costly.

  4. I have no suggestions, but I LOVED this post. Love your Gifs girl. Hope you can find a shoe you love that loves you back soon!

  5. Oh man, that sucks!
    I have no advice but just wanted to commiserate with you.
    Hopefully the new shoe with the heel lift works. Have you gone to a running store and to someone? There are some runner shops around town here with awesome workers who KNOW their stuff. Maybe they would have better advice.

    1. Thanks Meg! I have not gone to a running store because we live 100 miles from the nearest and my job just won't let me get away for a day, but I've done a TON of research!

  6. Noooo! I was hoping for a happily ever after ending. I really wish I had more knowledge about types of shoes to help you. The only thing I can suggest is having your foot analyzed at a running store, or maybe even have a doctor give you advice. I hear shoe inserts can help with certain ailments, too? I hope you find 'the pair' SOON!

    1. I hope I find a pair soon too! I have a "middle-of-the-road" 8mm drop pair coming, maybe those will work!

  7. Only because I have researched this quite a bit, I'll share with you what I know about low drop. Although I avoid them like they are a bad cold, I understand they may be what is great for someone else.
    But low drop shoes can take up to 6 months to break in, to do it correctly. I've known very few runners who have been able to correctly break them in, in less than 4 months without getting injured.
    I'd start with only running in the low drops for 1/2 mile or less for the first week or two, then slowly increase it.
    Meaning you may have to do your runs and change shoes during...
    If you break them in slowly, and take the time to do it correctly, you'll probably end up having them work great for you. But expect it to take 4-6 months before you are running in them regularly and completely. If you read Jill Conyers blog, she has some posts about breaking them in, that might be useful to you.
    If they don't work for you, probably the better option would be to go test out regular shoes and find a different brand that won't hurt your knees. Because as a girl who has dealt with bursitis and tendon issues in her achillies for 15 months now, I don't want you to have to deal with the time off and pain I have!

    1. That's what was so strange, I went really slow when I first started with the low drop shoes (4mm). I built myself up and had been running with no issues for over 6 months when the heel bursitis issues started. I'm hoping maybe a middle-of-the-road 8mm drop might work for me. We'll see!

  8. I'm right there with you in the shoe wars. I currently own Altra Provisioness running shoes(two pairs, but who's counting?) I have terrible feet--my podiatrist has actually said those very words to me, as in "You can't run. You have terrible feet." I also own Brooks Ariels, which my podiatrist approves of, but only if I wear my honking huge orthotics with them also. The Ariels are stability and motion control, so I consider this major overkill. I ALSO run in NB 840s,a netural shoe which is hugely wide, which I need for my terrible feet.
    The Brooks with the orthotics aggravate my Morton's neuroma. (2nd toe longer than the first, causes nerve compression) And scrunch my toes too much.I brought them as insurance to Disney, since I was running all three races.
    The NB with the orthotics do the same, but feel ok without the orthotics. I wore these for the Half.
    The Altras caused a very painful black toenail I had to have drilled when I did my long run in them before leaving for Disney. That's how my podiatrist found out I was running. No, I didn't take enough time to break them in. I did wear them for the 5k. And developed knee pain.

    I hate running in orthotics and motion control stability shoes. I know they're overkill. I love the Altras, because they give my toes room--unless I run 11 miles in them without adequately breaking them in. My Brooks and NB shoes are pretty shot, so I need a new pair of medium-drop shoes. I have no idea what to buy.
    I bet you feel better now, knowing you're not the only one in this conundrum.

    1. It's so frustrating! I decided against the Altras for now since I don't want to end up with more bursitis/heel issues, but I am getting some NB shoes, 8mm drop and hoping they will be the right fit for me. It's definitely just something I have to keep searching for!

  9. Sounds so familiar. If I where my Brooks I have low back, knee pain, and my plantar fasciitis flares. If I wear my NB minmus then my achilles tendon aches. Hoping you can find shoes that work for you! Don't forget to update us when you do :) ♡ Andi #runnerslove