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Shoe therapy

Hoka Shoes
Many of my friends in Terrigal Trotters have recently been switching to Hoka shoes which have thick cushioned soles.  They certainly have been building a loyal following and have enabled a number of runners with chronic foot problems to begin running again.  There is plenty of good-natured banter within the Club about the benefits of the shoes and the Luddites who have refused to switch.  Certainly there are those who think it would help me with my current foot problems.  I'm somewhat sceptical that will solve my particular problem but accept that they have made a big difference to some of my club-mates.

Vibram Five Fingers Minimalist Shoes
At the other end of the spectrum, there are still some runners at the Club wearing minimalist shoes and I often dream of the days when I could comfortably run track and beach sessions on grass, and even occasionally on concrete footpaths and roads, in bare feet.  I would love to be able to run in bare feet again, but am rational enough to know that those days ended around the age of twenty and I think there is sufficient evidence now that such minimalist shoes are risky for many runners, especially if they are switching from shoes with raised heels.

Off-the-shelf insoles with moulded arch supports
There are also many Terrigal Trotter advocates of professionally made orthotics, and these have also been suggested as a solution to my arch problems.  I'm reluctant to spend significant amounts of money on custom orthotics, primarily because I don't think the benefit will justify the cost.  During my army days, I did develop a significant arch problem and began wearing an off-the-shelf plastic orthotic which, eventually, did seem to do the trick.  Similarly, I learnt to deal with chronic Achilles tendon injuries by constructing heel raises out of old rubber thongs and wore these for many years during my prime.  I still ended up with a number of surgical operations, but believe these cheap heel raises enabled me to run many miles in training and races with less pain.

My arch was still a little tender today after yesterday's abortive run, and I didn't go for a walk or run.  Instead, during the afternoon I visited a very large mall nearby to see whether I could find some shoe insoles that incorporated good arch support.  Eventually, in a Nike store, I found some excessively-priced arch supports which I purchased (I'll be looking for cheaper online versions when this new pair wears out).  I do feel they are supporting the injured arch, but will withhold judgment on whether they will enable me to resume running more quickly.  I'll try walking a couple of kilometres tomorrow morning and take it from there.


  1. Hi Dave - I found strapping with the Leuko rigid tape was an effective way to support my arch. I did it myself (after a physio demo) and could adjust the level of support I needed. As my heel/arch progressed, I'd use less tape and stopped using it on shorter runs. It gave me control of how much support I wanted to use and I could adjust accordingly, depending on my progress. Also, as I mentioned before, 30 mins of really firm Chinese foot massage weekly to iron out the plantar fascia was great for me - worth a try (although our injuries may be different).

  2. Thanks for the message, Melanie. I wimped out n the massage idea. I can press moderately on a specific point in the arch and induce quite a lot of pain, so the idea of having someone massage the area is not very appealing. I'm pretty sure it's a ligament problem now and any ligament damage generally does take 6-10 weeks to repair, no matter what you do. The arch supports do seem to make a difference to the pain when I walk, and I do like the tape idea you suggest. I'll have a look on Youtube to see if i can find an instruction video on the correct application. Dave.