Advice Request – running minimalist with limited dorsiflexion and shoe advice

edited November 2012 in General

I’ve had many running injuries/issues over the years which
led to “I run when I’m not injured from running” situation.  I have been working on improving several
biomechanical issues since the start of the year (not on my own - specialized
program).  There was hip dropping, leg
swing/inversion and heel striking going on. 
I also have chronically tight calves/limited dorsiflexion. 
 I’ve been running in minimalist
(started in a 4mm NB10 Trail) and added the Merrill Trail glove.  I’ve made great strides, not perfect but far
better (and was told I may never end up with “perfect” mechanics but at least I’ve
improved the stress on my knees, etc.). 

The only issue that continues to haunt me is the dorsiflexion/calves (I
continue to do the recommended rolling, stretching, strengthening).  Over the course of the transition to
minimalist, I’ve had some issues mostly resulting from the flexion/calves, and
now have peroneal issues which I’ve started to get PT treatment for as it is
ongoing (and I’m not running).  The PT
person is thinking this may be because I’ve been now doing most of my runs in
the 0mm Merrill and perhaps with my limited dorsiflexion, it’s just too much
and she suggests moving to a less “minimal/barefoot” 4mm shoe.    I am disappointed as it feels like I’m
taking a step backward, but need to keep focused on the goal to run properly
and not get injured.   With all that said – I’m asking for advice/experience/thoughts
on both the situation as well as shoe recommendations. 


  • 0 drop shoes like the Trail Gloves can definitely tighten up the calves. For me, 4mm seems to do the trick - check out the 0-6mm categories here for my top recommendations:

    Have you been using the Trail Gloves on roads? I do find that the rounded heel can cause some stability issues on hard surfaces in that shoe. Also curious what you wear when not running (e.g., at work). If a shoe with a big heel lift that can keep the calves in a shortened state all day and trying something flatter might help loosen things up a bit. 
  • Thanks for the response - I do have your list printed off to have for reference. 

    Re: use of Trail Gloves - yes I had decided to use the NB10s for trail/hiking with the dog (primarily) and then using the Trail Gloves for both running on the road and on the trail.  During the course of the year I've been typically walking around the house barefoot/in socks and wearing flat shoes (unless work clothes require a heel).  On weekends, I've also been wearing flat as well as the NB00 Road (I had bough hoping to use running but only did a few times).   So yes, I try to stay away from heels and generally do.  


  • I'd be curious if things felt better in the NB Minimus Road 00's
  • edited November 2012

    I ran in the NB Min Road 00's a couple times, in April, around the same time I started getting discomfort in the top of foot which I had thought was tendonitis (pain after running but not during) ultimately determined it was a 2nd metatarsal stress fracture (I was being careful 10% rule and all :-().  When I started back up in June, I started back with the trail 4mm primarily and started shifting to the Gloves.  As soon as I hit progressing to  running 5 - 5.5 miles seems to be a common factor in both situations.  Not sure if there is any correlation there. 

  • If you like the fit of the Trail Glove but feel some added cushion might help, the Bare Access 2 is solid and has the same fit. You might also take a look at the Altra Instinct or Provision. If you are thinking about trying 4mm, I typically recommend the Saucony Kinvara/Mirage or Brooks Flow/Cadence as a place to start.

  • My calves get tight to on a regular basis if I don't roll them out all the time.  I roll them out on my black roller but also on a softball as it can offer more pressure than the roller.
  • I hd switched to the Triggerpoint tools for loosening up my calves, the black roller just didn't cut it for me.  The TPkit (roller and ball) I would recommend to anyone (especially with tight calves).  I have a routine, which includes rolling everyday (as well as other PT provided stretching/strengthening for other areas).    The ball that comes with the kit is about the size of a baseball/tennis ball.  What I have found from the PT person is that it isn't just the rolling, it's the technique in which.  Even when I was using the black roller, when she showed me per recommended technique, it made a difference.  

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