When running, and especially when training with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is important to take great care of your feet. Running is a relatively inexpensive hobby or sport, with the biggest expense likely being gear for your feet. Otherwise, socks too are critically important. Add some lightweight running gear -- shorts and top, and you can literally hit the streets.
The first year that I signed up for the 10K training team...about six years ago, I received some great advice...out of necessity. I was experiencing sharp pains on the inside of my lower leg, down around the ball of my ankle. One of my YMCA coaches encouraged me to visit a running store and shop for shoes. My initial reaction was thinking that I had a great pair of shoes, they were new, the colors were sweet, and I grabbed them on sale at a big box sports store. Why on earth would I want to change them?? But after another couple of weeks of pain, I pulled the trigger and visited Lucky Road Running Shop in Richmond, Virginia. This is singlehandedly the best decision I could have made for my running hobby. Had it not been for that visit, I likely would have given up and believed that my body wasn't built to run. I'm in no way connected to Lucky Road, but I do highly recommend them if you are in Central Virginia. The staff is superb and low pressure. They really do a great job of connecting to the right pair of shoes.
Jeff, the store owner took one look at my then Asics running shoes and said, "your shoes are at least half a size too small." I was doubtful, but Jeff explained how your feet swell and expand and you run, and thus the fit of the shoe is critical to allow for that change Further I was given gait analysts. I ran out and back on small hardwood track while Jeff watched and recorded my gait with an Ipad. Shockingly, he showed me the source my troubles. I overpronate. This means that when my feet land, they land on the outside of the foot and then roll back inward. When they roll, they roll past perpendicular and put great strain on the muscles and tendons on the insides of my legs and ankles. I would experience pain in the areas marked here:
The answer to my problem was provided by stability running shoes Stability shoes have a dense block of foam that sits under the arch, and this block supports the foot and keeps it from rolling too far inward. When you land on the outside of the foot and roll inward, the extra support causes your foot to stop rolling at closer to level. Stability shoes are marked on the shelving and signage but there is a tell-tale way to determine if a shoe is a stability shoe---look at the inside of the shoe and you will see a darker block of foam under the arch. You can actually press this block and feel a more firm foam than elsewhere.
I can genuinely say that my problems lessened almost immediately. Lesson learned.
To this day, I stick with the Saucony Pro Grid Guide series of shoes and they have been very kind to my feet. On longer mileage runs, I have to be sure to foam roll and stretch upon completion, but the shoes (and going to a true running store, rather than a sports store) made all the difference.
Good luck with your own training. I missed the group run yesterday---we took my son on his very first college visit, and the tour will continue over Spring Break. But, I was able to rise this morning and knock out a five-mile training run. Yep, it was slow....but I kept going.
Have a great week everyone.