Best Running Shoes to Use with Orthotics

by Marybeth

best running shoes to use with orthotics
I used to run regularly several years problem with shoes...had them fit by specialty running store.

However, after a work-related injury a few years ago, my running has been put on hold and as part of my physical therapy I was fitted with orthotics due to overpronation.

The physical therapist who specializes in working with athletes and those very involved in sports recently had new orthotics made with what he said gives greater control to the motion of my foot.

With the previous orthotics, I had found a shoe that worked. I could start walking and do small increments of jogging training.

Since the new orthotics, and increasing my training routine to walking more times a week and adding interval traning to two of my three walking sessions, I have had several issues --- most recently pain on the top of my foot (not behind toes) but further up and in line with big toe.

The physical therapist resolved the issue of initial metatarsal pain behind my toes on the top of the foot to the orthotic curling up in the shoe and trimmed both sides. That eliminated that pain. However, the pain I just described is still there.

I spoke with him and he said to give this some time to go away--however, I want to find out if perhaps this is due to needing a different shoe as he had also said previously that the metatarsal pain would only be present if the cause was still present. Since that pain has gone immediately with that correction of my orthotic for that foot (the left one), I thought all the pain would leave based on what he said.

best running shoes with orthotics

On my left foot, I have two toe fractures from previous accidents (the big toe -- which in the past never affected my running and walking even before having orthotics) and more recently the middle toe (a hairline fracture from a few years ago a year prior to the work related injury referred to earlier).

My question is what is the best running shoe to use with orthotics as I am wondering with the change in my orthotics if the Saucony that I have loved so much is perhaps no longer the right shoe. My physical therapist and the run coach both feel it is fine.

Physical therapist has always stated with the orthotics I need a neutral shoe with light stability and shock absorbtion, but not too cushiony to lose stability. Running Shoe store owners state that there is no such thing as neutral shoe and light stability together. Phys. Ther. understands this and acknowledges this as true so I have gone with neutral and shock absorbtion. Saucony Triumph has been the best thusfar because I also need a good sized toe box because of the orthotics. I am wondering with the change of my orthotics to control more motion of my foot if perhaps the shoe that has worked before (the saucony triumph) with the previous orthotics with control but not as much of the motion of my foot may not be the best shoe anymore.

Is there a better neutral shoe (with light stability) and shock absorption (but not too cushiony to lose stability) for an orthotic that now has more control of motion to my foot? Please advise.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about running shoes and your elaborate story.

I'll try to cover a few aspects:

1. Running with new orthotics and the increased training routine
2. Lacing your shoes
3. Best running shoes for you

Running with New Orthotics and the Increased Training Routine

best running shoes with orthotics
It's possible that the new orthotics and increased training routine have caused some additional stress on your foot, resulting in the pain you're experiencing. The pain on the top of your foot in line with your big toe could be due to a condition called metatarsalgia, which is inflammation and pain in the ball of the foot.

One possible cause of metatarsalgia is an imbalance in the distribution of pressure on the foot, which could be due to the new orthotics altering the way your foot moves during exercise. Another possible cause could be overuse, which could result from the increased training routine.

To address the pain, you may want to consider the following steps:

  • Take a break from your training routine and rest your foot for a few days to allow it to heal.

  • Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as directed.

  • Consider scheduling an appointment with your physical therapist or a podiatrist to assess your foot mechanics and adjust your orthotics if necessary.

  • It's important to listen to your body and not push through pain. If the pain persists or worsens despite these measures, you should seek medical attention to rule out any underlying conditions or injuries.

    Lacing Your Running Shoes

    best running shoes to use with orthotics
    As I understand, there is currently some pain on the top of your foot, away from the toebox. This is likely to be caused by the orthotics pushing your foot up.

    One little trick you can do to alleviate pressure on the top of your foot is to lace your shoes differently. At the point of pain, do not cross your laces, but just put them straight up. Do this for two rows, then cross them again the rest of the way.

    This could just do the trick with alleviating the pressure of the top of your foot and save you the $$$ for new running shoes.

    Best Running Shoes for You

    The choice of running shoe is such an individual thing, especially when you have some complicated foot issues like you described and are using orthotics. I know a fair bit about running shoes, but I am not a specialist on the topic, so, I really can't tell you what is going to work for your orthotics and your foot type.

    I am hoping the above tips remove the problems. If not, the specialty running store is the way to go. Find the one in your area that fanatical runners go to and where they go through a proper testing approach with running on a treadmill and/or video equipment.

    Best of luck!
    Kind regards,

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