During my first four half-marathons, I had significant trouble with my right knee. I had to have a knee brace on this knee during the races, and the long training walks to keep the knee's movement and pain under control. This pain and discomfort was at its worst in the inside part of my right knee. While the knee brace kept the pain and motion down, it was awkward to walk around with this big thing on my knee.
I researched my problem on walking.about.com and discovered that I had a common problem called overpronation. When I was completing my walking steps, my ankle rolled inside too much which put the stress on the inside of my knee, causing the pain that I felt. When my heel hit the ground, it should have rolled inside slightly then straightened out quickly; this is not what was happening with me.
When I looked at the shoes I was using at the time, I saw the sole of the inner side of the heel on the right shoe was worn solid. This was confirmation that I was overpronating. (Ironically, as I write this article, I feel the sole of my right work shoe worn at the inside heel.)
I was relieved to know that overpronation is common. The two biggest remedies to overpronating is good, light motion control shoes and improving your walking technique. I personally wear three different shoes at various times in my walking and running. I own and use a Brooks Beast Shoes, one pair regular and one pair wide. Sometimes, I feel like the wide shoe and sometimes I prefer the narrow one. I remember how light feeling these shoes were when I first put them on. They do a wonderful job of keeping my foot's pronation (walking or running) at the right angle and not too much. I also own and use a pair of New Balance 927. I wear this shoe as well because I occasionally have a problem with plantar fascitis in my left arch. The 927 gives me strong arch support that I need at the same time as motion control to not overpronate.
At the same time, I have also worked on my walking technique to fight overpronating. I have to force myself to move my hips, which give me full motion of right leg. In order to get the full movement of my hips, I need to suck in my gut. It is not a problem for me to swing the left hip and foot fully. If I am sure to move the right side evenly with the left then I will not overpronate and will have proper technique.
Ever since I changed shoes and improved my technique, my knee has thanked me and I have been able to shed the knee brace. I was able to start preparing for the full marathon and completed it six months after stopping my overpronation. Overpronation is also a problem with runners, as well as walkers. The shoes I bought are just as well-suited for me when I made the transition to running.
If you think you are overpronating, confirm that you are and fix the problem with proper technique and the right shoe for you.
Note: I have run-walked 17 half-marathons and one full marathon since 2007. I started training for my first half-marathon to lose weight and walked the whole race. In 2008, I completed my full marathon and then made the transition to running the half-marathons and got my time for a half-marathon under two hours. I stopped running after my first child was born, but got back into running-walking late in 2011 and kept up with it in 2012.
- Sports & Recreation