Choosing the right footwear when running with arthritis

June 3, 2020

If you suffer from arthritis you are not alone! With nearly 350 million people worldwide, and more than half under the age of 65; chances are that either you or someone you know is struggling with the symptoms of arthritis.

Since June 3rd is #GlobalRunningDay, we’d like to share some tips on choosing the right footwear in order to help improve the quality of your walk or run!

Best Running Sneakers for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knees:

Each individual’s type and location of arthritis in their knee may vary. Such as, one person may suffer with arthritis on their condyles while another might have arthritis of the patellofemoral section of the knee joint. This is why it’s important to have the right pair of sneakers for staying active. When shopping for walking or running sneakers, it’s worthwhile to utilize the foot and gait assessments offered at your local athletic shoe stores such as Marathon Sports. A few highly rated brands of running sneakers are:

  1. Asics Gel: Many runners that suffer from knee pain, recommend shoes from the Asics Gel-Kayano This shoe has cushioning which helps stabilize and protect your knees.
  2. Brooks: The Glycerin 18 is a plush, ultra-cushioned running shoe, making it a great option for people with knee pain.
  3. New Balance: The 1080 from New Balance is a neutral shoe that provides high levels of support for your knees, shin splints, or plantar fasciitis, even if you don’t pronate or supinate.


Best Running Sneakers for OA of the feet:

Hallux Limitus refers to limited flexibility in your big toe while Hallux Rigidus is when the condition has progressed. This can cause strain, pain, and fatigue elsewhere in your lower extremities such as your knees, hips or lower back. To avoid this complication and to be able to keep moving, your shoes can help compensate for the stiffness in your toe.

  1. Hoka One: The Bondi 6 running shoes have a wide, deep toe box providing plenty of space for your toes.
  2. Altra: The Olympus has great cushioning and provides support on uneven surfaces. These sneakers also have a wider toe box.
  3. Saucony: The toe box on the Kinarva is generously roomy while the lacing system offers a nice midfoot fit without over-tightening the big toe area.


Running TipsArthrosurface knee patient and avid runner

Here are a few tips to keep in mind especially if you are a beginner.

  1. Apply Heat: Use a warm towel compress where you typically experience joint pain, for 15-20 min prior to starting your workout.
  2. Move Gently: Always begin with a dynamic warm-up before you start running.
  3. Go Slow and Keep Track: Start off slow by walking for a few minutes and jogging for 20-30 seconds. Slowly increase the time spend jogging with each session and keep a journal to track your progress!
  4. Ice Afterwards: Place an ice pack on your joints for 15-20 minutes or as needed after running to reduce any inflammation. Use a towel as a barrier, so that the ice pack is not placed directly on your skin.


Learn More!

If you are considering joint replacement surgery and want to get your active lifestyle back, you may be a candidate for our Knee or Toe Joint Preservation Implant Systems. Our implants remove significantly less bone than traditional joint replacements, restore the native anatomy of the joint, and can allow you to resume full activity levels and live an independent lifestyle!

We’ve included the links to a few of our patients who were able to get back to running after receiving an Arthrosurface implant.

Contact us today or Find a Dr. in your area!

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2 responses to “Choosing the right footwear when running with arthritis”

  1. felix allen says:

    I am quite surprised by these choices of footwear and puzzled by the omission of the Nike Vapor Fly series. The Nike shoes also have a wide toe box but crucially they have a fairly rigid sole which prevents your big toe from bending too much. Very important if that motion causes you pain and may also be worsening the condition. These soles are also in a rocker shape which greatly reduces motion again in that big toe joint. Crucial for many sufferers. Furthermore, there is a lot of very good cushioning from the heel to the toe. It is almost as if these running shoes were made for victims of Hallux Rigidus. And you know what, all the best long distance runners are wearing and breaking records in them too.

    I am in no way affiliated to Nike but have the experience of having run 60 marathons (with some victories and representing my country) before arthritis forced me to retire from running completely in 2018. By that point I could barely walk. But guess what? Early in 2019 I had a very successful bilateral Cheilectomy in London, UK and by the end of the year had clocked up several more marathons, including my fastest ever – all in various forms of Nike Vapor Flys. And I can tell you, I do have Hoka running shoes in the cupboard, have had several pairs of Saucony Kinarva over the years and owned a pair of Altras. All of them great shoes but, not, if you have arthritis in your toes. If you want to preserve your running make the right choice, and they aren’t on your list.

    When my toes finally fail again – I will be coming to you for your ToeMotion joint replacement.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Felix. Very good detailed comment. I was looking for the best shoot to buy because I have hallux rigidus in both great toes. You mentioned your cheilectomy was successful. Can you talk about your thought process to move forward with the surgery, the recovery, and any other commentary? I’m on the fence after reading some unsuccessful outcomes. Thank you

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