For the past few months, I’ve been getting back into the habit of running. Mostly for my dad who, after doing a 15k with me and my brother, would like to do a half marathon together as well. I’ve never been much of a runner and frankly, I’ve always hated it, but for my family — of course!
During and after my runs I’ve experienced periodic foot pain, so I’ve been experimenting with run schedules, running surfaces, shoes, shoe fittings, shoe lacing, etc. Unable to figure anything out on my own, I finally made an appointment to see a podiatrist.
I got bad news, but it was a very informative appointment. After she asked about my injury history, checked out my stance and walk, and x-rayed my feet and ankles, here’s what I learned:
- I have hypermobile joints. People have always pointed out that I’m weirdly flexible — not in a manner that’s useful of course; only in bizarre, pointless ways that elicit reactions like “EW how are your arms/wrists/whatever bent like that?!” So, this was an official diagnosis of what I already knew.
- I have extremely unstable ankles, thanks largely to my past injuries and the aforementioned hyperflexibility.
- Inherently flexible individuals are highly accident and injury-prone, and have a tough time becoming rigid. It’s all coming together…
- Due to my foot shape (furthest right on this image), certain areas of my foot bear the brunt of the impact when I run.
- When standing, my feet are very flat, which can be problematic for running.
- I have a bipartite medial sesamoid in one foot.
- If my ankles continue to worsen, surgery is an option — down the road.
My podiatrist’s conclusion: I’m simply not built for running, and I shouldn’t run at all.* I should instead focus on low-impact, strengthening activities like yoga, barre, and pilates. I should also wear ankle braces, boots, or high tops at all times to support my ankles.
Huge bummer. But I’m glad I have a better understanding of my body and how I can prevent further (or permanent!) injury.
*I asked what my options are if I insisted on running: custom orthotics and specific shoes.
Update: I saw an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. He also concluded that I shouldn’t be running… but for completely different reasons. 🤔