Barefoot Runners


Posterior Tibial Tendinitis (Read 994 times)

    Has anyone had problems with posterior tibial tendinitis while running in VFFs or barefoot? If so, advice please.


      Yes, I have...and am still dealing with it.  


      I switched to exclusive BF/VFF running in January 2010, starting very slowly and conservatively adding mileage (or so I thought).  By end of May, I was up to a little over 20 MPW.  Over the prior few years with shoes and orthotics I was never able to exceed ~13 MPW...partially due to dedication but also due to knee pain.  So BF/VFF was going great...


      Then in May I started to get pain on the inside of my ankles, just below that knobby bone.  I made the mistake of ignoring it, and continuing to add miles.  Then by the end of May, my ankles were getting pretty swollen and sore.  


      So I shut it down for about 6 weeks, then slowly started running again.  There was still tightness and some soreness, but no swelling.  I iced every morning and every night, used my foam roller, and massaged with a tennis ball before every run.  And I am pretty much sticking to this (except I now only ice after each run).  I am up to about 8 MPW now.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate any specific advice or recovery plans on coming back from this...other than what I cobbled together above.  


      My issue was definitely too much too soon, and due to this, my form was definitely breaking down on my longer runs.  This coupled with years in orthotics and relatively flat feet, and it's not surprising this occurred. 


      Are you a recent convert to BF/VFF?  

        my advice, dont get it.


        i was lucky and had a very mild case (self diagnosed), it was probably more like an "almost injury" but it still sucked like no other. mine was the result of TMTS, as soon as i got my vibrams i wanted to be on the trails every weekend. lots of climbing, jumping, running.


        well you absolutely cant use it, assuming yours is worse than mine. even walking short distance could cause pain. you need to place the tendon in a relaxed position as much as possible and support the ankle so there is less movement. maybe even alternate hot and cold to increase the blood flow. thats about all i got, good luck man.

          Yes I am a recent convert. I have been at it for about two months now. I do not run exclusively in VFFs. I run about three days per week in them. My pain and swelling started about a week ago. At first, when running in regular shoes, my right ankle was fine but would be sore a slightly swollen only with the Vibrams. Two days ago I had slight stiffness and some swelling after running in regular shoes. Since that time, I have shut it down...rode the bike at the gym for the past two days. My ankle has improved a lot the past two days, no pain or stiffness. I plan on riding that bike again tomorrow and try running with shoes on Saturday for about four miles. I know that I will have to wait and see but does that sound conservative enough or should I give it longer? Are you still trying to run in the Vibrams?


            How much of your weekly mileage is in the VFFs?  When you started running using the VFFs, did you simply substitute them for your existing shoes and maintain your usual mileage?  If so, then it sounds like it would just be a case of TMTS.  Because VFF/BF uses muscles and tendons that are supported in most running shoes, there is a great deal of stress when making the really have to ease the VFFs into your routine pretty slowly.  Even if you have a strong mileage base in traditional shoes...


            If the swelling has declined and there is little soreness or tightness, then my opinion would be that it would be OK to get out there.  I've found that the pace of my recovery increased when I started running again...stretching the tendons and getting the blood moving through the area.  I restarted when the swelling was gone, but there was definitely still some soreness/tightness.  


            However, I'd recommend cutting back the mileage on the VFFs, since they seem to be causing the issue.  Maybe 2 miles in shoes and 2 in VFFs.  Ease the VFFs back into your routine very slowly...


            And yes, I've continued to run BF/VFF, as I think it is the long term solution for me...I just did TMTS.  

              Thanks Cruick, I appreciate your help.  No doubt that mine is another case of TMTS.  I started out very conservatively.  First run was only 5 minutes.  I would run and out and back (say 2.5 minutes out and then back) change into shoes and finish my workout (I did this routine 3x per wk).   At that time I was running about 45 mpw.  I soon learned that I needed to cut my overall mileage, so I did that to 30 mpw.  I increased my time running in VFF by FIVE minutes every other run.  Soon I was up to two miles out and two miles back.  Here is where I screwed up. I was running 12 mpw in my VFF and 18 mpw in shoes. I should have taken much longer to build my miles in the VFF, but I was feeling so good that I thought I was fine. I was fine for a while but ......Hopefully I will be smarter next time. 


              I had no swelling or pain yesterday.  I did the elliptical this morning and things are almost back to normal. I will be shod in the morning for a short 3 miler. 

                Just to touch base; after a week off (running in shoes) my tendinitis is gone and I ran in my VFFs again yesterday.  I started over by running only two minutes in them.  I was fine afterwards and pain in that area of my foot.  I hereby promise to go extremely slowly when transitioning this time around.


                  That's good to hear.  I kept meaning to check back in on how this was going...sounds like you caught it pretty early.  Good luck ramping up patiently!