Hi Hayley!

I have been doing a lot more running this summer and while I do yoga and cross fit to strengthen myself, I am still getting "runner's knee" from overuse. My only solution is cutting running for a few days but I hate the prospect of not being able to run in the beautiful summer weather. I was told of the five fingers "barefoot" running shoes.

Have you had any experience with this/will this help eliminate joint pain particularly around the kneecap?

Thanks for your help!


Five finger shoes are not my favourite and I have actually not dated a guy because he wore them (I know, that makes me sound shallow). But they make people’s feet look like gorilla feet! 

Aside from the fact that they are ugly I do not think that they are going to help you with your runner’s knee. What you need to do is spend the $100 that you would have spent on the shoes and go see a physiotherapist to deal with the biomechanical issues that are causing you to continue to get runner’s knee.

I am not a complete hater of minimalist shoes but when you wear them you need to be careful. These shoes are meant to improve the feeling of the ground under your feet which automatically puts your body into a position that is promotes proper running biomechanics. However, if you do not know how to run properly, if you are a novice runner, or if you have pre-existing issues, such as runner’s knee, you need to ease yourself into these shoes. 

Start with short intervals on the treadmill, and then work into short track workouts. When you are pain free and have built up the distance you can run in the shoes you can attempt to run longer distances. I have been running for 14 years and I still will not run in a minimalist shoe as I believe even though I have the right biomechanics the pavement is hard and I want a little bit of cushion.

What I suggest for now is to cut out a run or two and replace it with water running and spin classes and go and see a physiotherapist as soon as possible to get on top of the biomechanical and muscular issues that are causing your pain. With a little break you should be running pain free sooner than later, but while you are waiting for that give your knees a break from the pounding and enjoy the nice summer weather during hike instead.