Fixing my feet

I had my feet checked out by an orthotist last week. I arrived at his office with a pair of my old and current running shoes and a history of how the stabbing pain all began. He questioned me about my running history, scribbling notes on a fresh A4 piece of paper. “When did the plantar fasciitis begin? How long have you run for? How old are your shoes? How often do you stretch?”

You can clearly see that the older model on the left looks very different to the one on the right.

When I showed him the two pairs of running shoes, it was quite obvious I had not noticed how completely different the same shoe was. I have been an Asics fan since I started running. I have bought the Gel Nimbus shoe year after year. But when we studied the older model with the newer one, they looked like two different shoes! WTH?

The image on the left is how normal feet run. My feet, shown in the image on the right, is where you can see how my left foot hardly touches the ground and how all the weight is sitting in my right heel (where all the pain is).

Image on the left is how a normal person’s feet should stand. My feet, on the right, shows how much weight I am distributing on the balls of my feet. And yes, the right heel taking strain.

He made me run up and down a computerized mat to assess my feet. Again, quite revealing. The plantar fasciitis pain runs into my right foot, but it’s mainly caused by the lazy left leg.

The conclusion: There’s nothing wrong with my feet. The problem lies in the weakness of my hamstrings, glutes and calves. My current running shoes are too big for me and my feet slip up and down inside the front of the shoe. Ironically, I’ve always bought a men’s shoe for the wider fit. Don’t ask me why I’ve never considered other brands before? The shoes also cause me to over-pronate. I’m also tying my shoe laces incorrectly.

He wrote out a few instructions for me to take back to my bio, Mari. I need to focus on key strength exercises but quite honestly, I need to be disciplined to do the exercises if I have any hope of recovering.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s

I must admit, I walked out of his offices relieved that I knew what was wrong. I was gutted to miss the Pick ‘n Pay half marathon this weekend but I did buy new shoes! Say hello to my New Balance babies! How did I choose these running shoes? Blog post to follow this week.

My right foot aches

Plantar fasciitis. It sounds like some sort of fungal disease. An itch of some sort. When I say the words, people give me the look as if I’ve sworn at them. But it’s simply a foot injury which sends shivers up the spines of most runners.

My foot is sore. Again. I had plantar a few years back. It sent me into recovery and rehab for a good few months. No running, no walking, just rest. I recovered but here we are again. I’m miserable and irritated.cooling feet in the pool

I’ve Googled the hell out of this one, as one does. I know which exercises to do – the foot stretches, the calf stretching and the rolling of a ball under my foot. But in the back of my mind, I remember how long it took to get rid of plantar last time and I’m gutted.

The last stretch of Bobbies.

Today’s Bobbies 10km race wasn’t pleasant. My foot was sore from the minute I put my running shoe on. I thought the pain would go away, as it has for the last couple of weeks, even through Johnson Crane 10km, but not today. I struggled while the dude carrying a tog bag on his back passed me, I ached as the two speed walkers marched right passed me and I nearly passed out up that last dreadful hill as the 80-minute bus sang it’s way to the finish.

I have the Pick ‘n Pay half marathon next weekend. That’s twice the distance I ran today. It’a going to be a very long week ahead deciding what to do. Any advice? Send it my way!

Squats, stability balls and stretches

The other day, a running friend of mine asked me how it’s going with my biokinetist? She knows all about bio’s because she often comes to track moaning about how sore she is and that her bio is a secret assassin. I blogged about my initial visit to Mari a while back. Mari is helping me to strengthen muscles and work on areas of my body which are not as strong as they could be, hoping this ultimately will help my running form.

Mari gave me some homework to do, which I have tried to do regularly. One is them involves rolling a ball under my foot to help with my collapsed arch. The other is to make sure I lift my head and not look down when I’m running. This may sound like an easy thing to do, but trust me, it takes concentration since I’m not used to running that way.

On one of my last visits to Mari, she realized that I am incredibly weak and even before I think of lifting my legs and knees when I run, that I need to work on strengthening them. She has given me a bunch of hamstring, glute, back and hip exercises to focus on.

I’ve been amazed at how difficult but also easy home gym is! Firstly it takes effort and discipline to do them. But they make me sweat like mad and I’m often stiff the following day so they definitely work.

To help me remember the exercise, Mari takes photographs of me at my appointment. Trust me, there’s no better image than seeing 1. Just how much weight I’ve put on, and 2. How tough simple exercises are such a strain for my body. I am seriously weak and have lots of work to do!

I giggle like crazy when I see the pics! I look like I’m in such pain and feel so awkard! LOL.

But yes, the bio is one of the best decisions I made. I am feeling stronger. I feel more confident and for the first time, I’m more in tune with my body and know and understand what I need to do to improve my running. I’ll keep you posted!

If the (running) shoe fits…

If you follow my blog / tweets / moans in the office, you will know that I have been struggling with pains in my left foot for a while now. Podiatrists and biokinetists have diagnosed a combo of plantar fasciitis as well as morton’s neuroma.

Two different treatments have been recommended. The podiatrist made me orthotics for my running shoe and sent me on my way. The biokinetist has been giving me exercises to strengthen my feet and has shown me different massage techniques to do. She also recommended a change in running shoe style and size.

I’ve been reluctant to say anything ‘until it worked’, being the sceptic that I am. But so far… so good. I switched from the Asics 1170’s to Asics Gel Nimbus, which is more of a neutral shoe. The other major change is that I went from wearing a size 6 to wearing a 7 1/2! I know! I feel like I have giant feet but Craig at Dunkeld Sweatshop (this dude is good!) ensures me that this size is right for my feet.

So? Is it working?

I ran the 15km Colgate race in May as well as the RAC 10km two weeks ago. During both races, my foot ached like hell, especially the section where the neuroma sits. But the plantar fasciitis is 90% gone. (As my biokinetist put it, it will take time for the heel to heal.)

I walk around at work some days and actually find myself wondering where the heel pain is. But it’s gone. It feels wonderful!

I’ve got a long way to go with the www.lynosport.co.za treatments but I can definitely feel that my feet are getting stronger. I just need to be good and carry on doing my exercises.

Now just to tackle that neuroma…