60km In 2 Weeks and a Painful Ankle Bone!

Q. I've been training since January for a 60km walk on the 12th May. 2012. I purchased a new pair of boots (Anatom) in Feb and after wearing them in, they were lovely! Got to the stage I had no blisters or problems. Then suddenly during a 27 mile walk I started experiencing sharp pains on the inside anklebone of my left foot, it felt like a pressure pain rather than a rubbing. I managed to complete the walk, but the pain was quite severe. When I got back my ankle was swollen and bruised. I rested my boots for a week and just did short walks in trainers, but yesterday I experienced the same problem during a 16 mile, despite padding the boot over my ankle.

I have also tried all the usual adjustments of laces, using an insole to lift my foot slightly, padding out the ankle, sadly all to no avail.

With only two weeks to go I am so gutted, I'm doing this walk in memory of my Mum, but am starting to feel I won't be able to complete that distance with this pain.

If anyone has any tips or advice I would be so grateful.

Sarah Massey, Berkshire


A. Hello Sara, I think a big mistake many walkers is make is in thinking that they have to wear boots.

I walked from SW France to NW England (2,000 kms) in 70 days, at the age of 70 to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. I wore good (Columbia) walking shoes and never once felt the need of the extra height. I had one blister, and that was because I was a bit tardy in removing a stone from my shoe.

Something else I would suggest, not related to your particular problem, is to lightly grease your feet with Vaseline before every walk - this does away with a multitude of problems.

Vic Heaney, Puivert, France


A. Sarah, I've experienced something like this. I'm presuming your boots have bellows joining the main body of the tongue to the side of the boot (the bit by the ankle).

Normally you would tuck the bellows in with the tongue when doing the laces up. When you do the laces up on the side of the boot where you're getting the pain push the tongue in but try ensuring the bellows is "tucked out" (away from the ankle). Sorry if that's not a straightforward description.

Neil B, London


A. Hi Sarah, I had the very same problem when I walked the Coast to Coast Walk last year, I got through it with pain killers, I had never had a problem with my ankles before this. When I returned and visited the doctors, he told me that I had a bunion on my ankle, due to my ankle rubbing onto my boots, he said that I had started walking flat footed, due to the muscles in my feet wasting, I could hardly believe this with all the exercise that I do. He advised me to wear some insoles in my boots to stop my foot rolling over. I was not sure which to get, I rang my local Cotswold Outdoor shop, they suggested wearing Surefeet insoles which they sell, they hold the foot in the correct position, so it is not as easy for the foot to roll over. I was allowed to take them and try them, and I could return them within (I think it was six weeks), so I did this and I was very pleased with them, this seems to have solved the problem, I am not sure how they would be if I was to be continuously walking long distances walking every day. I had a look on the internet for exercises for the problem, I now walk around the house barefooted, and I also walk on my tip toes as often as I can remember, to try to exercise the muscles. Hope this information helps you.

Christine Savage, Preston


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