Originally Posted by Vickie Ellickson
I have no idea what is wrong with your ankle, but why the resistance to orthotics? I've been wearing them for years and it's not that big of a deal unless you want to wear flip-flops all of the time. The biggest difficulty that I've run into is finding dress shoes and work boots that are "tall" enough to accommodate the orthos w/o being so long that they are too big for your feet.
I've had many issues with my feet over the years and the biggest thing is to find a doctor that knows what he's doing. I delayed in seeing a Dr for too long, and then I ended up seeing two guys that were way off base. Sad for me.
My recommendation is to go to a running shoe store (a local business that just sells running shoes if possible) and ask the people working there if they have any podiatrist recommendations. Running freaks either have had problems or know of someone that has had problems.
Orthotics are generally not the answer. They should be used as "crutches" for when you have an injury and need to rehab it to help eliminate pain, but you should be strengthening on the side to make it so you don't need orthotics permanently.
On that note, getting fitted for running shoes is a sham. The studies show that there are NO long term improvements in both injury AND function from getting shoes fitted to foot conditions (either pronated, neutral, or supinated).
This is also why I believe orthotics are not the answer because molding something to the feet will just make our foot proprioceptors and kinesthetic awareness decrease which will lead to more foot atrophy and more problems. No win situation. This is why rehab should always be used in combinations with orthotics if orthotics are indicated to help reduce pain when no other option works.
Regarding your pain the fact that barefoot was improved over your orthotic and crappo running shoes mean that barefoot is definitely the best option. This is the case for most people.
But it seems like you have other biomechanical issues that may need addressing.
It's likely you have issues at the knees/hips/ maybe SI/low back like you probably think. If you can, you should see a physical therapist who is good with evaluating gait mechanics and identifying if you have any weakneses in the knees/hip muscles.
Generally, foot pain tends to manifest through a series of dysfunctions caused from shoes and sitting which I've described extensively in this article:
There's stuff on page 4 regarding soft tissue work, specific strengthening and stretching if you find that you actually have some of these specific issues from poor posture, shoes, sitting, etc.
I would suggest reading through the whole thing and then posting back here if you can identify some similar issues with what I've written there.
The type of pain you have seems like it's an impingement issue. I don't know if this is from previous sprains or some other bony distractions, but it can likely be addressed with proper biomechanics, especially if barefoot/VFFs showed some improvement over your shoes and orthotics beforehand.
Hope that helps.