Today on Doc On The Run podcast we’re talking about hallux rigidus shoe traits for runners.
I recently got a question on one of the YouTube videos about hallux rigidus, and this guy, I really understand his situation. He was basically giving me a long description about how there aren’t good treatment options for this condition for runners, and he’s actually starting to have pain when he runs and he knows it’s red, he knows it’s inflamed, he knows it’s a problem, and he’s trying to think about some different shoe options. He asked me what kind of Hoka shoes should I use?
First of all, I don’t know that he needs Hokas, and you’ve got to have somebody assess your foot type and the condition and find the thing that fits best for you, but there are some general rules that always apply, and the truth is that if I told you which Hoka shoes I think were great for you.
Today, by the time you watch this video, you’re probably not going to be able to get that exact shoe anyway because they do change them. In fact, my favorite Hokas ever, they don’t even make them anymore. I’m not going to talk about which one because I’m still looking for them. If I find them on some discount site, I’m going to buy every single one they have in my size, but I digress.
There are three things you really need to look for when you’ve got hallux rigidus and you’re trying to not move the big toe. The idea here is that when you know have arthritis developing in the big toe, in the joint, and you move it, it wears it out faster. It makes it more inflamed, it makes it hurt more, and you have to run less. You do not want to do that. You don’t want to move it. You don’t want to aggravate it.
I saw a thing recently where some guy ran I think the Osaka Marathon in these traditional Japanese shoes that are literally a platform with a straight piece of wood underneath them, and you have to balance on this piece of wood. He ran like, I don’t know, just over three hours I think, and his foot doesn’t move. It’s not going to move at all. He’s actually rotating on a piece of wood. Same thing as wooden shoes from Holland. They look totally different, but they have a steep rocker under the forefoot because your foot rolls and your big toe joint does not bend at all when you’re wearing those shoes and you’re walking. Clogs, that’s how they work.
There are some shoes that have similar characteristics, but if you think about the wooden shoes, they have a very steep rocker or a very steep curvature under the forefoot because your four foot has to roll. They’re wood. They will not bend. When you see running shoes that are totally flat where they’re sitting on the shelf, they’re going to be very flexible or you would basically be levering off of them when you run. The more curvature there is, the better when you have this condition. The stiffer they are, the better when you have this condition.
The problem comes in is that in terms of what type you need. Well, that depends on your foot type. If you have high arches and you have a rigid foot type, you want cushioning. You don’t want added stability. You can have stiffness without stability, but stability actually holds you in a corrected position. If your foot’s already stiff, you may wind up getting stress fractures. That’s why you’ve got to think about your foot type in relation to these things, but the three key things are you want them relatively stiff, you want more rocker under the forefoot, so look for ones with more curvature so that you’re rolling and not bending, and then as a consequence, when you try to bend the shoe, it’s going to feel a lot stiffer if it has lots of rocker built into it in most cases.
The other thing is that when you put them on and you load them and you try to bend them so that it bends at the ball of the foot where your toes are, you want to look and see if the material pushes against the top of your big toe joint. If it has stiffening material in the toe box on top of the foot and it creases and pushes against your foot, that can actually irritate the top of the foot where you have bone spurs developing when you have hallux rigidus, so you don’t want pressure from the toe box. That’s the third thing.
If you think about these characteristics of shoes when you go into the running shoe store and you’re looking at the models they have available, it’ll help you make better decisions. Now. If you like this episode, please like it, please subscribe and I’ll see you in the next training.