Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Running Orthotics!

I have incredibly strange feet. In technical terms, I pronate a lot. Every physical therapist or athletic trainer who’s ever looked at me thinks they’ve discovered the diagnostic jackpot when they look past my hips/hamstrings/knees/shins and get to my feet.

Mollie, wow, do you know about your feet??? They ask in consternation, with a hint of glee at their discovery.

Yes. I dash all hopes of uncharted territory to the ground. I’ve been wearing special made orthotics since I started running in Junior High.

That usually ends the discussion –- my feet are strange but someone else has already addressed the issue -- and the well-meaning PT or AT moves on to other potential injury-causing culprits.

But what if it’s been my feet all along?

When I went to see John about my hip/hamstring problems, he very quickly honed in on my feet (he is a chiropractor and Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner - aka foot expert). But instead of accepting that my current orthotics were good, he tested them to make sure.

John did a series of very simple strength tests, first barefoot, then in my orthotics. And lo and behold we found that they’re not good at all! I was much stronger without orthotics than with them, when it should be the opposite.

To make my new orthotics, he measured the degrees my feet are “canted.” For those of you in the know, my feet are at 15 degrees and 12 degrees (normal is 4). For everyone else, that just means that my foot and arch tilt in.

Then, holding my feet in a neutral position, he molded them in foam.

Less than two weeks later, a box arrived on my doorstep – new orthotics, ready for running!

I took them out for a 7-miler on Sunday. They definitely felt different than my old orthotics, but not uncomfortable or overly strange.

And on Monday night I brought them to John along with my old orthotics. We did the same strength tests – this time in my old orthotics then in the new ones. The difference was huge. It’s too early to tell you if these new orthotics will change my running life…but right now I’m feeling pretty optimistic!

Do you run with orthotics? Has anyone checked them recently?