Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do Orthotics and New Shoes Help Reduce Joint Pain?

I had a discussion the other day with an law enforcement professional in his late 30's, we'll call him Pedro, who is also an avid runner. He is experiencing arch, ankle and knee pain and someone directed him him to me to discuss what he may be able to do for it. And as it turns out, he is not interested in taking supplements and to his credit he does not even take pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs, which in his profession, and even with the general population, is rare.

This guy runs sometimes five times a week, 3 to 8 miles at a time. Not a skinny guy, there is much pounding on the pavement that is absorbed in his feet, ankles and knees.....even his hips and back, but those are not hurting him yet.

He did see a Doctor who advised him on getting some cushioning orthotics and recommended ice and Motrin after each run.

My advice to Pedro was:

Find a foot specialist, better if they work in the smaller niche of sports related foot injury. I have had good experiences with orthotics, not just for running but for daily use;

Contacting Road Runner Sports about their diagnostic work on running shoes that could result in a good recommendation for running shoes based on the client sending their used shoes in for an evaluation. Buy two pair of the same shoes and rotate them for each run to give their soles enough time to decompress,...sometimes that takes up to 48 hours.

Reduce the running, in frequency and even maybe distance. Use speed work or fartleks to make up the different in aerobic workload. Rest and reduction in work load can stave off chronic injuries.

I also believe that fixing the problems with his feet will also help the ankles and knees, but probably not to the point where the pain is diminished to discomfort. Any time you have actual pain, then something is wrong and a trip to the Doctor is in order. Just keep in mind that Doctors tend to treat using medications and that is usually treating the symptoms and not the pain. And lastly I told Pedro that he really needs to consider a high quality Glucosamine to see if this nutrient will help the type of knee pain he has. It would be a cheap and non-invasive way to determine if his knee pain problem was a nutrient deficiency issue rather than a structural problem.

All in all, the solution for most problems is one single thing,'s usually a combination of small changes.

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