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Teen girl's arches in serious pain


Ipsey
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My 13-year old has always had achy arches though the Dr. says there's nothing incorrect looking about them, and she's had some X-rays done, and there doesn't seem to be anything structurally wrong inside.

She just started track, and she comes limping home in pain every day. We have some basic arch supports, but we probably need better ones, I guess. And probably shoes we can't afford. :(

 

Does anyone have suggestions for what we can do?  She doesn't want to quit track, but I don't see how she can continue.

 

 

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Two options based on my experience with my daughters and myself, all with flat feet--take her to a good running store, and they will recommend both a running shoe and insert based on what they observe her foot doing when she runs.  

 

Or if you're past that point, take her to a sports med doc.  What kind of doc said there's nothing wrong?  Sports med specialists have much more expertise than GPs for this.

 

I feel for you with the cost of shoes/inserts for growing kids!  Dd11 started cross country last summer, and the running store shoe and insert helped enormously.  But she will need new ones this season, regardless of the fact that we spent ~$150 last year!  Nothing else, in my experience, can make up for the support of a good shoe and insert if you are dealing with fallen arches.  With proper support, dd and I can run forever, but without it, we're sidelined within a day or two.  Once my dd gets through her growth spurt, I will take her to my sports med doc and have him order prescription orthotics.  They're covered by our insurance every other year.  But while she needs a new size every year, the running store is our best option, and she felt great running on what they recommended last season.

 

Depending what insurance coverage you have, prescription orthotics or even PT may be cheaper than going to the running store.  If you have ins benefits, check what's covered.

 

Not sure what your dd's issue is, but my fallen arches are no joke.  With support, I can walk and run as far as I want.  Without, I have major arch pain and shin splints that make it impossible for me to even walk comfortably.  I had no problems as a kid.  it was only when I started running track in my teens that my adult weight and increased demand on my joints/alignment caused major issues.  It's typical for it to show up for the first time in the teen years.  I've resigned myself to the fact that shoes that I can actually walk in are going to be more expensive than I wish.

 

Amy

 

 

 

 

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I agree that she needs to see a specialist.  Was it a podiatrist that said there was nothing wrong?  I would suspect no.  See a podiatrist.  My dd has flexible flat feet, which means her arch goes away when she stands or puts any pressure on it.  We didn't know for a few years because she wore crocs most of the time and those were great.  Once she switched to trendier bobs and less supportive shoes, lo and behold she had problems.  Now she has Nike running shoes and crocs.  If she were a runner, we would definitely get new custom orthotics from her podiatrist.  Please take her to someone who specializes in her issues.  Best of luck!

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has she seen a podiatrist?  I would expect one to be much more helpful than her regular dr.

 

 

eta: running shoes.  2dd ran x-cntry for four years, and for two years her coach was an olympic runner. - do not underestimate the importance of running shoes.  do not use them for everyday.  they should only be worn when running.  wear other shoes to and from races and practice, and only wear running shoes for running. it will extend the life of the shoe - and yes, you need new ones every year, and sometimes every season. (or more)  go to a GOOD running store, not some average big box sports store. experienced runners will be able to help fit her foot properly. 

 

if she is having as many issues as you describe,it's likely more than "just the shoes".  it would definitely be in her best interest to have her checked by a professional.  I would urge a podiatrist - a dr who specializes in feet.

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 this may be completely off base, but I'll throw it out there.   I was having intermitent pain in my feet atfter doing yoga - and it turned out my calves were very tight and pulling on the foot muscles.   doing lots of massage and stretches helped.  that pain didn't last long, but it sure did hurt when it hurt.

 

I would still have a poditrist look at her feet.

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I second the super feet inserts and shoes from a running store.  Also, go barefoot at home as much as possible.  Foot pain can be from feet that are too weak, and going barefoot (when it's safe) makes your feet stronger and so they hurt less frequently.

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My daughter complained of her arches hurting.  She plays basketball.  We took her to a store that specializes in running gear.  They assessed her feet and her complaints.  They had us buy some shoe inserts and told us if the inserts didn't improve the situation we could bring them back.  They worked and she hasn't complained again.  The insert generally run about $40.  Unfortunately, all of my kids need inserts.

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She could start with Walk Fit inserts from Target.  They are pretty effective for a lot of people.  What they are is basically orthotics that have three levels of arch support that are interchangable, so you can switch them until you find the one that is best for you.  They are very affordable compared with custom ones.

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What track event(s) does she participate in?  That makes a big difference in the type of footwear needed.

 

As others have said, if she's a runner, especially a distance runner, she really needs good running shoes.  DS runs cross country and distance track events (1600 and 3200) and participates in half marathons now and then.  We average at least three new pairs of running shoes per year.  I would NOT buy any kind of insert until you get an evaluation from a running store and give a quality shoe a try.  If you get a good shoe for her you may not need inserts, and I would certainly go for a quality shoe before I'd try inserts with a cheaper shoe.

 

Also as others have said, you don't have to buy the shoes from the store that does the evaluation.  Each time DS has been evaluated I have purchased the shoes from that store, but when he's needed new shoes but no evaluation we shop online for the best deal.

 

Another thing to consider is that if she's just started track, some soreness and achiness isn't unexpected.  Sometimes you just need to do lots of icing and ibuprofen until it gets better.  Perhaps her coach would have some advice about whether what she's experiencing is normal or not?

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I agree with everyone else who has recommended finding a good running store for an evaluation however I believe you should buy the shoes from that store.  

 

The store invests time and money training the employees and then doing the evaluation and discussing the recommendations they have.  They aren't doing that as a free service out of the goodness of their hearts.  They are a business and are doing it with the expectation that if you use their service you will purchase their products (and yes, there is often a small markup to pay for all the time spent training and evaluating customers.  

 

If you use their evaluation service then shop online you are driving up in store prices for the people who want to support the store and possibly contributing to their reduced sales (leading to the store closing and your area losing the valuable resource).

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A friend's dd who did a lot of gymnastics had to go to a podiatrist and had custom orthopedic arch inserts made that she can stick in whatever shoe she wants. 

 

I had a pod. try to get me to buy some, too (plantar f-can't spell it) but I was able to get help from a very knowledgeable shoe dude at the large sporting goods store.  I now get new RUNNING shoes with max. arch support every three months and buy the $20 linings with max. arch support - I rip out whatever lining comes with the shoe and replace it with the $20 ones.  

 

Since she is a teen who wants to run track, not just a middle-aged mom with bad feet ;-)  seeing a podiatrist and getting custom supports made may be worth it.

 

 

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Just some encouragement for you.  DS18 was a total non-runner and complained about his legs and feet all the time, even when walking a short distance.  A trip to the podiatrist at age 12, a set of custom orthotics and he is my distance runner now.  Thinks nothing of logging 5-6 miles on the treadmill when he is feeling antsy or doing a 50 mile hike with scouts.   Insurance pays for the orthotics and he is on his fourth pair (growing feet).  He wears them in running shoes, dress shoes and hiking boots.  They really made a huge difference for a kid with a fallen arch.

 

My DD20 uses Sueprfeet, but she has a different problem.  She pro-nates at the knees, mostly as a result of knee surgery as a child.  The Superfeet are great for that problem, but would do nothing for DS18.  The podiatrist can feel you the difference.

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I agree with seeing the doctor and then the orthodics and good shoes.  You might ask at your local running store if they have any special deals for student athletes or community coupons, etc.  Our local store has some discounts for local sports teams as well as a community coupon book you can buy for $10 that has a $15 off coupon for their store----as well as other coupons to use in town.

 

I have a bone spur and tendonitis but custom inserts along with good shoes has made it so that I went from barely limping around to walking 4 miles easily with no pain..........and I am an overweigh, over 40 mom.

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