Friday, January 18, 2008

Orthotics #2

I come back to the issue of Orthotics because it is an interesting subject, and for sure there is no definite answer, yes/no.
Thanks to everyone who gave his input on the matter, I will for sure investigate the feasibility.
This season I trained both with/without orthotics and also raced with/without.
I strained my piriformis muscle after a race without orthotics, but it is a chicken/egg issue whether the strain was due to racing without orthotics or because I was using very light racing flats or, at the opposite, because training in orthotics reduced the range of motion of the muscle and therefore predisposed it to be strained.

In my personal case, the heavy pronation is not due to "flat feet" but related to my "bow legs" and leg length difference.
The leg length difference is an hefty 1.5-2.0cm (0.6-0.8 inches).
Some other evidence:

- Exhibit A: the foot pressure map (barefoot). As you can see, I have pretty high arches

- Exhibit B: my legs are so much curved.... Therefore the transmission of weight from the upper body to the ground is not vertical, but along a inclined axis, hence the rotation of the ankle/feet in heavy pronation to amortize the force itself.

- Exhibit C: a short movie taken in the lab for preparing the orthotics. The shoes were lightweight trainers, neutral. You can note the pronation (well, I do not know if it is that heavy...)

I hope that this material could give more data for your comments/suggestions.
Unfortunately I can not find in Hong Kong a real expert in running biomechanics who could assess the situation first hand and give me advice.
My idea is to start to cut down on the level of support (now I use Kayano + Orthotics), so maybe just orthotics with neutral shoes or just Kayano and also make more training runs in lighweight trainers, to let gradually strenghen the feet.
Currently I am also using a 3mm insole on the right leg to partially compensate the leg difference. I am going to stick with it because I feel not to run more balance, with more power transfered to the ground by the right leg (before, basically I felt that mostly the left leg was doing the job...).


running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

i have a feeling that a lot of people get riped off when buying these inserts to fit in your shoes. i think first you should try simple measures such as foot exercises [ pulling your self along the ground just using your toes ] using a wobble board to strengthen your ankles knees and hips and maybe go to a chiropractor to check out your leg length difference, maybe your spine is out of alignment, muscles could be tight on one side ex.
on a funny note a guy in my club got some inserts to fit in one shoe a month later he went back for a check up with the specialist and found out he'd been wearing it in the wrong shoe.
looking at your video its hard to see if your over pronating,but remember pronation is a nature part of your foots action helping it absorb the shock from the ground.

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