Hiding in Plain Sight: the Reason for Your Post-Run Aches

How are you progressing? We hope you’re feeling fine, fresh and in full health! Of course, some aches after running are normal, but some definitely aren’t; we’re here to let you know which is which.

Form is something every runner frets over, and feeling achey after your run can send your mind into overdrive. I personally spent hours as a beginner checking my form and wondering why I was still aching after my run in ways I knew weren’t normal. That was, until I found out why.

It all came down to the bottom of my running shoes. For no particular reason, one day I flipped my running shoes over. What I saw would answer all of my running problems. The inside of my soles were much more worn than the outside. I instantly thought “Great, I was right about my poor form”. Wrong! What I was looking at was my own overpronation. Don’t let the term scare you. Overpronation and underpronation might sound like scary terms, but actually, they are very common, and it’s easy to find out whether you are running this way.

Overpronation is when your foot rolls inwards at the ankle as it touches and leaves the floor. Some people may refer to this as having “flat feet”, as the arch of your foot will touch the ground. Overpronation is not an injury, and is actually quite common in runners, but it can leave you more prone to running injuries, as the strain on your ankles can be severe without care. That’s why, once I recognized my overpronation, I immediately took action.

Underpronation is the exact opposite - when your foot rolls outwards at the ankle as you run. Underpronation is much less common, but equally dangerous if you don’t take care of it. I’ve only ever seen a couple of cases of underpronation, but underpronators usually find out faster, as they experience more joint pain as a result of their gait.

Of course, some runners have a neutral gait, and aren’t affected by either of these phenomenons. But how would you know? Well, you can start by doing what I did, and checking the bottom of your running shoes to see if one side is more worn, but this might only present in extreme cases. A better option is to take a “wet test”. Just take a piece of heavy paper or cardboard, wet the bottom of your foot, and stand on the paper for a few seconds. The remaining shape will tell you whether you have a high, low, or medium arch.

Once you’ve got your results, the fix couldn’t be easier - make sure that you have the right shoes for your gait! And most importantly, enjoy your run.

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