Dealing with Arthritis

Sunday, August 04, 2013
Today it was time to break in my new shoes.  When I put them on, I found them a bit big - I went up to a size 10 instead of a 9.5 this time - which was weird because they fit perfectly when I tried them on in the store.  It was probably because I went after work and my feet were a bit swollen.  I figured I'd give it a go though and if they were too big, I'd take them back.  No need to worry though; once I started, they were so comfy, I forgot everything.  Aren't new shoes the greatest?!  That feeling the first time you go out for a new run/walk in them?  Perfect.

The running I've done over the last month seems to have done wonderful things for my walking.  Today, I planned on treadmilling for forty minutes and following the 10/1 intervals I had started following when I first started this blog.  Normally, I can do two miles in forty minutes (or slightly less).  Today, I did a solid 2.06. Say what you will but that "measly" 0.06 miles?  Super awesome.  This definitely means I'll be continuing to incorporate the occasional running session, even if it's only 1/1s.
This is a lace-free zone.
I'd like to point out the lacing on my new shoes.  Nope, I did not forget to lace the bottom holes.  That's intentional.  You see, I have arthritis in both of my big toes/knuckles.  When its acting up, the knuckles just below my big toes swell enough to make wearing almost any kind of shoe (including the simplest sandals and flip flops) incredibly painful.  After getting some advice from one of the staff at the Running Room, I started skipping the first set of holes on all my running shoes. You would not believe the difference it makes.  I had never noticed this on any one else's shoes before but after a quick Google search, I see that there's a number of ways to lace shoes in order to alleviate various foot/shoe issues.
Swollen toe/knuckle - you can see the spot where my shoes rub against it when its swollen.
In addition to the lace issue and pressure on the top of my foot, I have to ensure there is sufficient cushioning under my toes and the front ball of my foot to avoid coming down on my toes too heavily and risk doing any further damage.  This is where quality running shoes come into play and finding the right shoes for you.  I can look back now at my last three pairs of running shoes and know that pairs 1 and 2 (both Saucony's) were all wrong for my feet.  My arthritis bothered me while wearing them although at the time, it just seemed like that was how life with arthritis was going to be.  And then last year, I bought my first pair of Asics.  To be honest, I can't remember the last time my arthritis was so bad that I couldn't walk/run because of it.  

In my last post, I made some comments about the shoe staff at the Running Room (at least at their 109 St location).  The guy who sold me my last pair of shoes (the purple Asics) knew his shit.  Most times though? You're taking a chance.  For an average runner/walker with no foot or knee problems, it might not be as big  a deal but when you're like me, or my mom who wears orthotics and has hip issues, the wrong shoe can aggravate injuries/problems we already have but the right shoes can make it seem as though you're running/walking on a cloud.  I really wish they'd do more training for their staff, or have staff who take their responsibilities a bit more seriously.

Anyways, I've been very fortunate that my arthritis isn't worse than it is.  Despite being diagnosed more than five years ago, its stayed fairly static in terms of the level of pain and the frequency.  Fingers crossed!!!


justmeandmo said...

I have freakishly high arches and have a weird lacing configuration. People ask me how the shoe stays on my feet. They just do and I don't have numb toes. Win/win! Being unconventional rocks, glad its working out for you too :)

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