Friday, May 17, 2013

Foot Notes

One afternoon, we were sent up to the gym room on the 3rd floor, one by one.  There, I (and presumably each of the others) found a large square pad placed on the floor.

I was first of all asked to stand normally directly on the pad, which would measure how my feet bear my weight.

Then I was to walk normally over it, pacing myself so that my right foot walked over the pad going one way and the left foot passed over it when going the other way, 3 times in all.

A few days later I received an image of my walking performance.

It was no surprise to hear I have flat feet, nor that my right foot rolls inward, as I had discovered my right knee pronates in a few years ago. But it was still quite interesting to see it in living colour.

The static image isn't too bad.  It indicates I have fairly equal weight on both heel and ball of foot, with toes getting in on the party a bit too.

But the dynamic image is not quite so positive. 

The black line indicates weight transfer, which is supposed to start in the middle of the heel, roll forward along the outward edge of my foot and then move from little toe to big toe before pushing the weight off as the next foot takes over.  As you can see, my left foot is a bit more successful at this than my right.  In fact it looks like my right foot has completely lost the plot, despite my awareness of its inward habit.

I, like about 5 others of my company, were recommended to get orthotics.

My general practitioner had me resisting the call for orthotics a few years ago, when my pronation was first detected. His take was that unless absolutely necessary, wearing orthotics means muscles in the foot that need to be strengthened are let off the hook and not worked sufficiently. Given that orthotics seemed to be like flavour of the month for every runner I knew made me a little wary myself.  I am always a bit susicious when everyone has or uses the same thing - I am not a first adopter!  Call me old fashioned if you will but there I am.  And when the podiatrist I had been referred to concurred and recommended an off-the-shelf shoe insert (with the action-packed name of "superfeet") I thought I was sorted. Especially when my running shop and trainer also recommended them.

So I questioned the Scoliosis SOS recommendation, and the physio. very kindly listened and offered to do the test again with me in my trainers (with said insole).

Which I did.

Well, as expected, the left foot is adjusted quite well, but the right foot still indicates incorrect weight transfer. 

I was gently told that yes, foot muscles must be worked absolutely, but a "mechanical fault" (I swear he used those exact words!) requires more assistance as other parts of the body are also impacted (e.g., pronated knee).  In other words a structural as opposed to an operational fault. And, big surprise here, my scoliosis was at the heart of this structural, mechanical fault.


Still hestitant given that they are not inexpensive, I put the word out to my peeps to hear their thoughts, and I received some very interesting feedback, all of course quite individual, but I did sense a couple of themes.  Those that had 'lazy feet' didn't enjoy the orthotics, whereas those who had experienced pain found them to be very therapeutic.

I bit the bullet, and my scepticism was finally tested two weeks later when I received my orthotics in basic black (I had a choice of colours, and was tempted with red or lilac but decided I would regret my choice.  One of the 14 year-olds got the lilac and as fun as it looked, I think my reasoning was sound).
$320 would have bought shoes much cuter than these!
After a week of breaking them in a few hours at a time, they now feel just fine.  And when I am conscious of it, I notice both my feet move from heel to the outside of my foot and along my row of toes to come off the big toe like they are supposed to - hey magic!  I also notice my right knee doesn't brush along my left leg as it often did while walking, but bends over feet in a straight lone like it's supposed to.

I've been wearing them in my trainers and my sketchers and my boots, and I feel like Nancy Sinatra strutting down the road now, regardless of whether I happen to be wearing boots or not at the time, but whatever they are, they are made for walking. And that's just what they'll do. .

No comments:

Post a Comment