My New Achilles Support System

May 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

Notice anything different?

Yep, that’s right, I got new shoes.

Not only a new pair of shoes, but a new brand (New Balance), a new model (860s)  and a new type (stability).

When I saw Dr. Paul Langer, the Running Podiatrist, several weeks ago for chronically tender Achilles tendons, he prescribed three things to try first:

    • Heel Drops.  I was already doing a variation of these–stand on a stair, hang your heels off the edge, and lift up onto the toes.  Then slowly lower your heels down below the top of the stair you are standing on.  Dr. Langer, however, recommended a variation where you still lift with both legs but then lower yourself back down with just one leg.  The problem I’m having with these is that I’m not coordinated enough to switch from having two feet on the stair to only one with any sense of rhythm.  So not only am I failing to do them the way he recommended, I have also stopped doing them the way I was originally doing them.  Shame!
    • Using a pair of Orange Superfeet Insoles.  Took some searching to find a dealer with the orange ones but I found a pair within a week and have worn them on every run since then.  Not sure that I’ve seen a change but seems like they should do something.  Might not be able to tell from the picture but the insoles that came with my shoes (the top two) are an 1/8th inch  of light-weight foam.  Not good for much.  The orange insoles have a hard plastic piece that runs through the back two-thirds.

  • Switch to Stability Shoes.  I’ve run in Nike Pegasus for over 15 years–there were a couple pairs of Nike Icarus, a pair of Nike Zoom Extras (Cross Country spikes), a pair of Nike Zoom II racing flats, and a brand-forgotten pair that lasted a week.  But for the most part, I’ve worn Pegasus.  And for the most part, when I start a new pair I feel good but after some miles my Achilles get sore again.  I figured that it wasn’t the shoes’ fault since the pain subsides when I start wearing a new pair.  Dr. Langer decided that I slightly over-pronate and shoes try shoes that provide more stability than the Pegasus–gulp!  It was a bit traumatic to buy something totally new but I’m giving them a try.  I tried on the Asics 2160 which also felt good but the New Balance 860s that I bought had a bit more room in the toe-box and has a less aggressive heel counter.

I waited until after running Lake Minnetonka before trying out the new shoes in case I have trouble in them.   But I’ve had them out of the box and been running in them for the last two weeks.  I won’t know for a while what I really think but I have not noticed any dramatic change.  The first thing I noticed is that the heel seems loose–my heel feels like is going to come out at times, especially at the beginning of a run.  Perhaps a different lacing pattern will help.

I’m still in the feeling-out stage with my new companions–there is a lot of excitement and anticipation that maybe these will “solve all my problems” as the shoe dude said although I remain skeptical.  But at least I’m slowly working my way through Dr. Langer’s recommendations and things aren’t getting worse.


Nike Air Pegasus 27+

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Picked up my latest pair of Nike Pegasuses last week from Gear West in Long Lake. One of my anxieties in moving 130 miles west is that I was losing Fast Fred, my shoe guy. I’ve run in the same shoes (Nike Pegasus, size 11, wide/2E) for over a decade. While Pegasus are available everywhere, the wide part throws the big box guys usually. Besides Fred works at a locally owned store and is a great guy that has been running longer than the teen-age clerks at the big boxes have been alive.

The first thing that has struck me about the latest Pegasus model is the plainness of it. Seemed like a step backwards in time. I thought that I was more concerned with function than form and while the shoes have worked fine in the few runs I have used them for, I was initially disappointed in their appearance.

The funny thing about wearing 11 2Es is that I use to wear 10 1/2 (or maybe even 10) regulars and had horrible blister problems between my toes. While still in college, I thought I would save some money and bought a pair of wides at Rogan’s and my blister problems shockingly disappeared. I had accepted the blisters as a side-effect of running and hadn’t considered that I may have been running in too small of shoe. I moved up to size 11 when Fred only had that size in stock and I thought I would give it a try.

So far, the new shoes are running fine–I still have some Achilles soreness, more in my right leg, but it is not getting any worse. I do kind of wonder if the protective part on the back of the shoe is related to the problem at all.


August 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Did we really wear this?

I wasn’t running much in ’89 but did we really wear these kinda colors? Pink? On a men’s shoe? Really? Eeeesh.

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