Rob Spade PT, DPT “I couldn’t even run 10 feet!”
As I started training for my first triathlon in the summer on 2009, when I was 24, I bought myself a new and expensive pair of shoes at a local running store. They looked at my feet and arches and prescribed a pair of shoes. I’ve never had a problem running previously but during my third training run, not even running more than 5 miles at this point. I started off on my sidewalk, outside of my house, and started running just like normal and had an intense knee pain all across the front of my knee. I stopped running and the pain went away so I tried again and could not take more than two steps. I could not comprehend how this intense pain came out of nowhere. Not even an inkling of knee pain at all before this occurrence. My immediate thought was that it had to be the shoes since I just started using them. I had been reading about running and minimal shoes and had an old pair of running shoes, similar to what had been used in the 1970s that I had gotten 5 years earlier. I went inside my house, changed my running shoes, and then ran three miles, no knee pain! Now, how could this be? Just a few minutes earlier I couldn’t run 10 feet! Well, since the shoes were the only thing to change, in that few minutes it took me to change my shoes. It had to be the shoes! One shoe did not feel tighter than the other so the width and length of the shoe were out. So I measured the heel to toe drop of the shoes and found that my new and expensive shoes had a 12 mm drop; the older pair of shoes had a 7 mm drop. Eureka! … There is much controversy over heel to toe drop ratio and shoes; however, in this instance, that 5 mm was the difference! I’ve gone even more into minimalistic shoes and currently wear the Vibram Five Fingers when I run and completed my first Ironman triathlon in them this past summer!