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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What can be done about sore feet from new running shoes?

Dear Gary,
I have purchased a new pair of Addidas running shoes. They look and feel very nice but I am getting very painful soles when I run. It is agonising. Please help!
Gary Moller comments:
Dear "R", I know all about the distressing discomfort that you describe. I purchased a new top of
the line Nike shoes a few weeks ago and suffered the same painful problem during my first run in them. The culprits were the inner soles that came in the shoes and the problem was solved in a few moments.

Picture: Rip out the stock inner soles and replace with Formthotics.

The problem you describe is very, very common and is most likely due to local ischaemia. Now, don't worry about the big word: Ischaemia means lack of blood to an area causing burning pain, cramps and sometimes much worse.

When you run, circulation of life-giving blood is enhanced by the "muscle-pump": Each time a muscle contracts, stale blood is forced out and back to the heart, thus augmenting the work of the heart. When the muscles relax fresh oxygenated blood flows into the soft belly of the muscle - and so the process goes with with each cycle of contraction and relaxation.

Where the muscle pump effect is interfered with, such as when lifting and lowering weights without a breif break in muscle tension between lifts, the muscles will quickly tire and the ischaemic "burn" is felt by the lifter.

A similar pumping effect happens in the feet while running. Each time the foot strikes the pavement the blood engorging the sole of the foot is forced out and upwards by compression of the tissues. Fresh blood flows into the foot during the recovery phase of the running phase. Now, the runner gets into big trouble if the foot is firmly encased in a shoe that does not allow the foot to fully decompress during the recovery phase. Failure to decompress the foot does not allow fresh blood to flow into the bloodless foot. The consequences can be:
  • Burning painful soles and feet
  • Rapid tiring and failure of the foot muscles causing
  • Loss of foot posture causing
  • Loss of running form and efficiency causing
  • Injury to the feet, lower legs, knees and even the hips and low back
Prevention centres around enabling the foot to decompress during the recovery phase of the running action:
  • Carefully remove the inner soles of the shoes and replace with Formthotics Active and fit carefully according to the instructions that come with them (Available from
    • If the shoes are tight or low cut, such as for cycling, then use Forththotics Low Profile instead.
    • Formthotics mould to the shape of your foot while allowing the foot to decompress - something that few sports innersoles allow to happen.
  • Toss out your thick and juicy sports socks and replace them with a pair of thin cotton socks that do not encapsulte the feet like a pair of embalmed mummies.
  • Lace the shoes so that they are loose over the forefoot while being firm about the upper foot and ankle area.

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