Exercise! - A question about running

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12-22-2009, 09:00 PM
I have always been an awful runner. I have flat feet and my ankles and the soles of my feet tend to scream when I run.

But tonight was different. I ran four miles with nary a problem. So my question is this - does running consistently lessen the ankle pain, because it strengthens the ankles? Or did I just have a particularly good run and my ankles will be screaming again tomorrow? Because I have to say that I am very encouraged that I might actually be able to make a go at this running thing if my ankle problem has miraculously disappeared.

I will go ahead and address some questions you guys might have. Yes, I have good shoes. Asics, which are supposed to be the best. I also had a running shoe guy make sure that these shoes are the best for me, although he didn't have me run for him (which kinda disappointed me, I thought that they were supposed to do that to ascertain what kind of stride you take).

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys might have that will keep my ankles pain free.

12-22-2009, 10:25 PM
If he didnt have you run for him there is no way of knowing whether the shoe is really right for you. Although if you have very flat feet virtually any shoe store will sell you motion control shoes. (and to be honest there are those who believe the whole thing is b.s. and causes more problems, but we'll stick to the current mainstream thinking here and say you probably have motion control)

Yes, things can get stronger, yes they may scream again tomorrow even as they are getting stronger. It could be a 2 steps forward 1 back thing. I would continue to do plenty of Xtraining and take on running slowly, maybe every other day for awhile or run for 10 minutes at the end of your xtraining workouts. (or both. Nothing wrong with a short short run everyday...another area of controversy but i am sticking with the rebels on this one)

12-22-2009, 10:27 PM
I've been running for over a year but I'm not sure exactly if running strengthens your ankles specifically. It strengthens your leg muscles which can ultimately help the area around the ankles. I've never had a problem with my ankles so I wouldn't really know.

I do know that it is crucial to run in the right shoes for your foot type. Were you running in different shoes when you had ankle pain? Also, make sure you go to a quality running store. They should make you run and test the shoe to see your form and if you have any weaknesses (I have flat feet too). And if for some reason the shoes don't work for you after a few weeks, they usually let you return them.

I know from personal experience. I had gotten shoes fitted and I ended up injuring my legs because the arch was too high. I went back and got fitted again and the pain is completely gone. Hope I helped a little. :)

12-22-2009, 10:50 PM
if you have a history of weak ankles, you might want to do some ankle physical therapy exercises during your strength days to prevent injury. you can find these exercises online, just do a google search. typically all you need for pt is your body weight and a resistance band.

12-23-2009, 12:05 AM
If he didnt see you run then you have no idea of asics are the "best" for you or not. There is no "best"-- just becuz he sold you what is probably the most popular shoe. Asics actually tore my fet up big time, but that is neither here nor there. You need to have your gait analyzed. HOWEVER, assuming these shoes ARE the right ones for you, than they can DEFINITELY be a/the reason why you arent experiencing pain

Side note-- if you have very flat feet, you can strengthen the muscles/ligaments/tendons in your arch by running barefoot occasionally. Im being dead serious, and it is an incredible sensation. Will without a doubt make your foot and arch muscles stronger. Barefoot running has actually been shown to (over time) raise flat arches

12-23-2009, 01:42 AM
I'll agree with barefoot running.

I ran cross-country in high school and my feet are flat as a pancake (a little creepy really). My coach would have me run barefoot a ton and it does strengthen your feet (though it never raised my arches any).

There are also lots of stretches and moves to strengthen feet and ankles.

Don't let being flat-footed be a deterrent for running; you can run without pain.

Ennay: I've only had one pair of motion control shoes and they were absolutely horrible for me, killed my knees. I'm not a fan of every single flat-footed person being shoved towards motion control.

12-23-2009, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the advice, everybody!

Yeah, they are the dreaded motion control shoes. The store where I bought them is reputed to be the best running store in the Kansas City area, Gary Gribbles. So I was surprised that they didn't analyze my gait. They didn't even have a treadmill there.

To answer some of the other questions - I have had these shoes for awhile, so my ankles have throbbed with these same shoes. It was just yesterday that they didn't bother me, for the very first time. So you can imagine how happy I was. I wear a Bodybugg and nothing, and I mean NOTHING, comes close to the calorie burn I experience when I run. It's like 10 calories per hour, as opposed to about 5 calories per hour when I am on the elliptical.

I never considered barefoot running. Wouldn't that just tear up your knees? I don't know, but I might consider it if you guys think that it's a good thing.

Thanks for the advice about the PT - I will definitely look into that as well.

I am definitely starting out slow - 5 MPH is fast for me. Most of my running is 4 MPH, as embarrassing as that is. Probably most of the runners would consider that to be a fast walk! I also plan to alternate my running days with weight lifting combined with another kind of cardio, so running only 3 days a week for awhile.

Thanks again for the advice. On my next pair of shoes, I should definitely find a store with a treadmill with a salesman who takes the time to analyze my gait.