Experts opinion... Feet knackered!

Well today I had my bio-mechanical examination. What was interesting is the difference between this podiatrist (an American doctor who is a podiatry surgeon) and the so called sports podiatrist I had a couple of years ago. For a start it was a lot more thorough being 60 mins long and involved a substantial number of foot measurements (probably upwards of 25 on each foot). I've got loads of biro on my feet as a result. He then had me standing in various foot positions which were videoed, then finally I was onto the running machine. This involved me walking whilst he studied my feet before videoing this as well.

Basically in laymans terms my feet are knackered!! There was a hell of a lot to take in - the most important being that the neutral point of my feet are at an angle of 32 degrees when it should be zero, give or take. He then said that in 26 years this was pretty exceptional as the most he has ever come across is 33 degrees! Not quite the Guiness Book of Records, but almost! There were also a number of other issues (most of which I understand but cant even begin to describe them on the blog) with my feet that need to be corrected.

The end result is that my feet experience a number of frictional forces which will be causing the blisters and is likely to explain the knee problems I have been having. When he played the video back it was clear that the twisting of the feet caused the left knee having to correct itself and thus causes a lot of sideways forces. He didn't need to say anything as it was patently obvious as soon as he played it back to me. My right knee seemed relatively normal in comparison (though my right foot still had a neutral point of 22 degrees!).

He did say that I do need a custom made orthotic to correct my feet to remove the frictional forces and to correct the foot angles. Over the next 30 mins he then made a plaster cast of my feet which are going to be sent to a lab in the USA to produce the orthotic. There were also a couple of exercises to help correct some of the other problems - one to stretch the upper part of my calf. I have noticed that my upper calf felt tight compared to other muscles so a suggestion that I stretch it without me even mentioning it is interesting.

As I said in an earlier post to the blog I've gone there to correct my blister problems and constant foot strains/pains (and to get my feet prepared for the MdS), but if it also helps my knee then that would be icing on the cake. I'm cautiously optimistic, though don't want to build my hopes up too much having had bad experiences in the past (comparing the two examinations it is clear that the previous guy was crap). At least with Dr Shelton I feel as though he knows what he is talking about and that if he cant sort my foot problems then no one can. I also like the fact that he is an ultra-distance athlete so knows more about the stresses my feet are under when running long distances.

He did say that by correcting these problems it is likely that my running will become more efficient as the muscles are not having to make as many corrections. This could result in a performance increase as even an efficiency improvement of one hundredth of a second per stride will make a substantial difference in a 10km+ race. At worst it will mean that my muscle recovery time will be reduced and less injury prone.

As for the cost, well lets just say my wallet is lighter to the tune of £255, and that doesn't cover the orthotics themselves which I will pay when I get them fitted in about three weeks time. Up until then its back to the Compeed...


  1. Sounds as though he knows what he is talking about. Hope it sorts your knee problem as well, that would be great.
    I have been informed I have Achilles Tendonitis, so can't run until it heals, which is a bit of a blow! Better now than in a year's time though I suppose.


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