I thought I'd never run again until my physical therapist recommended these inserts.

 

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Most runners have been there: You've just started out or are well on your way to reaching your goals when, seemingly out of nowhere, you start to experience knee pain. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the aptly named 'runner's knee' can spring up at any age and is most common in runners (and those who sit for long periods, such as drivers and office workers). Ironically enough, this common injury is not always caused by a problem in the knees, but rather weakness in the ankles, hips, or feet. 

My mom (a marathoner for thirty years) and I (a runner only because CorePower was closed) were diagnosed with runner's knee around the same time. After a few PT sessions, our physical therapist outlined our respective issues. A previous ankle sprain had thrown my mom's leg out of alignment, causing her knee to ache. To my surprise, an x-ray confirmed I'd developed plantar fasciitis. The long-ignored pain in my foot forced me to run with an awkward gait, putting extra pressure on my knee joint. To help us get back on track (literally), our physio recommended we both try these Easyfeet Orthotic Shoe Insoles ($30, was $40, amazon.com). 

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Credit: Amazon

 

Designed to slip seamlessly into any pair of sneakers, these orthopedic inserts support arches with a cushioning layer of memory foam. Deep heel cradles align the feet and ankles, while reinforcement gel surrounding the forefoot absorbs shock with every step. Even on a short walk around the block, I felt an instant change in the impact distribution across my legs, almost like a weight was lifted off my knees and feet.

After trimming them down a bit to fit inside my sneakers, I started wearing the insoles on daily walks and was shocked by how much distance I could cover without feeling discomfort. Other shoe inserts I'd tried had helped me manage the aching in my feet and knees, but these completely took it away. After two pain-free weeks, my PT suggested a short run. Armed with my long-neglected workout clothes and a killer playlist, I jogged for about a mile and was elated by how normal the movement felt, almost as if I'd never been injured at all. My mom bounced back even faster and started training with her running group again after only one week of using the insoles. 

While strength training (and Bosu Ball bonding time with my mom) played a role in helping me back into my fitness routine, I can confidently say that these inserts are the reason I'm running today––and I'm not alone. Nearly 16,000 Amazon customers say they depend on these "life-changing" inserts to overcome foot pain, overpronation, tendonitis, and more. "I have bone spurs and scar tissue from playing soccer through college," wrote one customer. "These insoles gave me my first pain free workday the first time I wore them." 

"I'm an avid runner and also do plyometrics and HIIT exercises that are hard on my feet and knees," explained another shopper. "These provide support, relief, and added cushion for my feet. I'm glad I chose these and not a more expensive option."

Available in a variety of men's and women's sizes, Easyfeet insoles come in four distinct designs, including Red ($30; amazon.com) for pain relief, Blue ($28; amazon.com) for lighter arch support, and Orange ($30; amazon.com) for injury prevention. After overcoming my injury, I switched my red pair out for the orange as I train for my first half marathon. 

These "game-changing" insoles are currently $10 off, so don't hesitate to add a pair (or three) to your Amazon cart to start hiking, running, or walking pain-free. 

 

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