I need help finding the best shoes or sneakers for chronic achilles tendinitis.
March 24, 2010 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding the best shoes or sneakers for chronic achilles tendinitis.

Its a five year old problem that I might be close to beating. I am currently wearing a cam walker after shockwave therapy and it's about to come off in about a week. I have never found the right shoes to compliment any of the therapies I've tried, and I'm worried that the gains that I've made with recent treatments will be reversed by bad shoe selection. I've asked my doctor and physical therapist the same question but the answers were a little vague, so I reach out to you. If you've had this aggravating and persistent problem, did you find a certain brand or specific shoe or sneaker that seemed to noticeably help? I currently wear black saucony jazz sneakers now, and have prescription orthotics that move from shoe to shoe.
posted by shimmer to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Are you looking for advice on shoes specifically to fit your orthotics? I can tell you what the podiatrist who made my orthotics told me, which is that the shoes should be very very inflexible -- you basically shouldn't be able to bend them anywhere but the toe box. Like, if you can take them and bend them in half right through the middle, that's bad. (Could also be that the shoes are worn out, but I did this with brand new shoes.) And you apparently shouldn't get anything with fancy cushioning. The idea is that the orthotic itself does all the correcting and if it's not on a firm shoe it will wobble and not work. (I also have gait problems as well as a bout of Achilles tendinitis, so some of the advice might have been about that.)

I also got vagueness about exactly what shoes I should buy, and ended up going to a locally-owned shoe store that had experience fitting people with orthotics and walking out with New Balance 955 shoes, which they said were popular among orthotics wearers. They're certainly working well for me -- I hardly get any tendon pain at all, and the pain comes back wearing other shoes. So that's a vote from me.

(My podiatrist also advertised some guy who would come to your home with various shoes appropriate to your orthotics and advise you on them, possibly selling you some. Probably this guy is not the only one who dispenses this advice, and it might help if you could find someone like that.)
posted by sineala at 10:20 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

The podiatrist tells me my Achilles tendons are angled wrongly (they point outwards on the sides), and got me orthotics to correct same-- not quite your problem, I know, but related. I got New Balance 955s a couple months before that, and he didn't seem to have a problem with me keeping them and putting the orthotics in. They've been great sneakers.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:42 PM on March 24, 2010

Achilles Tendinitis can be due to a lot of factors - and it's good that you checked with a physio and got prescription orthotics.

Talking about sneakers, usually A.T. is a condition that afflicts runners with overpronation issues.

There are running shoes designed to help correcting your gait to avoid overpronation. These are called stability shoes, or motion control when the issue is more accentuated.

You might want to check a list of the main stability running shoes or motion control ones.
posted by madeinitaly at 2:10 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not withstanding your request for shoe information , I must interject that this product has been a real lifesaver for my achilles tendonitis. It has allowed me to get back on the tennis court. Recommended to me by a friend who had Dr. prescribe it after surgical repair of ruptured achilles tendon. Can wear it with any shoe.
posted by Agamenticus at 6:16 AM on March 25, 2010

A higher heel keeps your tendons from stretching as much and may therefore help. At the same time, your tendons may "get used to" their shorter length, prolonging the problem and making you dependent on a higher heel. Up to you if it's worth the risk. :-)
posted by callmejay at 7:37 AM on March 25, 2010

Thanks folks, all of your answers helped me see a different side of the problem. I just put in an order for the New Balance 955's. Question for those who have these: What is the EVA compression molding like, did you notice it? Also, do they have removable insoles, or did you just put the orthotic on top? Thanks again.
posted by shimmer at 2:41 PM on March 25, 2010

The insoles are removable. No clue about the EVA, sorry.

(I also had to buy half a size larger than usual for me. YMMV.)
posted by sineala at 5:18 PM on March 25, 2010

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