Sometimes

Kevin visited our willow lawn store last week exhibiting all the signs and symptoms of medial tibial stress syndrome. He had visited another store which told him he overpronated and needed a stability shoe. Kevin was fine with that first pair but when they wore out he visited a second store which also told him he overpronated, but just a little, and that he didn’t need all the support of his first pair. So Kevin purchase a stability shoe for mild support. Thats when his shin pain started. He couldn’t understand why he could run pain free in one stability shoe but not another.

After listening to Kevin’s prior experience, then conducting a full body gait analysis, we were able to show him that he didn’t overpronate at all. From the ankle down, Kevin’s gait was neutral. However, above his ankle he ran with a bow to his legs. This created an excessive lower limb varus, in relation to his feet and shoes, which was the source of the strain to his medial shin. Technically he wasn’t overpronating but to the …

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We Love What We Do

I was scheduled to have yesterday off from work with a plan to do orders from home and watch some football. So naturally I got bored and went to Lucky Road anyway. Just wanted see if there was anything I could do to help out for an hour or so. While I was there a gentleman named Taylor walked through the door and was clearly on a mission. When I greeted him and asked if I could be of service he promptly replied yes, I need someone to help fit me for a good pair of running shoes. He expressed some frustration with his running as of late and how he had been advised, by another shoe fitting expert, that there was no magic bullet for his problems and he should consider taking up another sport. Upon hearing this I knew I had to give Taylor my best effort.

We spent some time together going over his goals and injury history. We also took time to observe his running gait from head to toe. Not jut once but a few …

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Stablize-me-not

Alicia stopped by our Lucky Road Willow Lawn store the other day. Her last ten pair of shoes were the same stability model. She was just looking for another pair of the same shoe to replace her last ones. After taking some time to get to know Alicia we were able to discover her injury history. Alicia had chronic discomfort around her knee. We also took the time to observe her running form with and without her orthotic. Turns out Alicia has a neutral gait cycle and her knee pain may be the result of overcorrection from the stability shoes she’s been wearing over the years.

In an effort to appear more technical, many running shoe stores will assess their customers while running on a treadmill and then video their feet from the rear. Unfortunately the rear angles involved create an optical illusion which make the runner appear to overpronate the shoe. About 70% of runners assessed from behind will end up buying stability shoes. In reality only 35% of runners actually need that kind of support. About half of …

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Trial and Error

Joe is a local high school swimmer. On the advice of his family Physician, Joe’s parents brought him to Lucky Road to be fitted for a good pair of over the counter orthotics. Joe has a very unique gait cycle, one I may have seen about 10 times in my 20 years of conducting biomechanics assessments. Normal foot biomechanics are such that our feet will invert about 4 degrees before initially striking the ground on the outside of our heels. Joe’s feet do the opposite. His feet evert in air phase and strike the ground to the inside of his heels.

An orthotic is not a bad idea but, it is only as supportive as the shoe where it is placed. If the shoes are not stable the orthotic will not be stable either. So before we considered fitting Joe with orthotics, we wanted to see his physical response to wearing shoes with a little more support. First we tried the Asics 2000, a reliable shoe with a mild degree of stability. After a few steps in the Asics 2000, …

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Bigger isn’t always better….

Jay was in earlier today. He has a history of pain across the ball of his foot. It was diagnosed years ago as a mortons neuroma. Jay went through non-invasive procedures to alleviate the pain, which for the most part proved successful. One major change he made was to start wearing wider running shoes. The extra width took a lot of pressure away from the ball of his foot.Recently though some of Jay’s foot pain started to return. As we spoke he explained how he was in the habit of wearing the Brooks Ghost in size 10.5 2E. But the last store he visited didn’t have that exact size in stock at the time so they told Jay that a size 11 D was the same thing. Upon hearing this I immediately shook my head no and said “that’s not true.” But Jay didn’t know that at the time so he trusted their advice and purchased the 11 D. Unfortunately he had just been conned into buying a shoe that didn’t fit right and in turn caused his neuroma to …

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WARNING: This post may offend some self proclaimed experts in gait analysis.

Amanda visited Lucky Road last week. We assessed her running gait as being neutral. She said she was confused because the past two running stores she visited told her she overpronated and sold her stability models. After a few more questions we discovered the “gait analysis” offered at the other two stores isn’t a real gait analysis. They watched her walk barefoot. Thats it, nothing more. Watching someone walk barefoot is not only an incomplete method of assessing ones running gait, it’s “completely” inaccurate. There are distinct differences between a running gait and a walking gait. There are also distinct differences between shod and unshod walking or running gait.

The Tibialis Posterior Muscle/Tendon is responsible for helping to stabilize our arches and subtalor joint. In a nut-shell, it helps prevent excessive pronation while running. However, the tibialis posterior remains dormant while standing or walking. What is commonly accepted as overpronation is more likely to be seen in a walking gait. But that means nothing to a runner. When we run, ground reaction forces are enough to trigger the Tibialis Posterior …

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You need a little less stability in your life

Stoney just visited Lucky Road looking for a new pair of running shoes. In addition to serving our country as a member of the armed forces, he is training for a marathon this year. Stoney thought it would be a good idea to bring his old shoes with him so we could see the wear pattern. Ordinarily the wear patterns are of little use in deciphering a runners actual gait. There are too many variables to consider which make reading certain patterns less than accurate. However, the wear patterns on Stoney’s shoes were much TOO accurate.

Stoney had been wearing a pair of Brooks Adrenaline’s. A very good shoe for runners who exhibit a moderate to severe degree of shoe pronation. Less than 35% of runners fall into that category. The wear on his Adrenaline showed shearing to the outside, lateral, edge of the sole. The midsole was also collapsing laterally, or to the outside. Without having watched Stoney run I was observing a shoe that showed he was being over corrected. But we don’t want to make assumptions here, it’s …

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Helping as we can

David is 11 years old. On the recommendation of his pediatrician, David and his Dad came to visit with us at Lucky Road/Road. I was working on something in thestock room when they both arrived so I did not have the privilege of greeting them or to observe David’s gait as he walking into our store. A fellow associate came back to let me know there was a client up front that needed my attention. And she was right.

After emerging from the stock room I was able to say hello and shake hands with both David and his Dad. I then listened as the Dad explained about the issues David was having when he walked. David would turn his entire right leg out and had a severe limp. I watched David walk and saw for myself that everything his Dad said was accurate. David had a severe degree external rotation to his entire right leg and foot. There was an obvious torque to the right side of his pelvis and excess loading on his left leg. At first I …

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BEWARE the BIG SALE: That sale shoe may be more costly than you think.

Your running shoes are the single most important piece of equipment you own. However, the three main reasons people buy shoes are 1) name brand, 2) style or color and finally, 3) sale price. All three of these reasons have nothing to do with weather or not a shoe fits well or is designed to meet our unique needs. Considering the number of us who are beginning training for the Monument Ave 10K this year, we’ll be logging plenty of miles, purchasing a shoe that doesn’t fit, or work for our unique needs, can increase our risk of injury.

You might see stores advertising sales of 30%, 50% and even 75% off. Unfortunately when stores do this they take away the incentive of helping their customers find the right shoe. The emphasis is instead on selling as much product as possible. Customers end up buying shoes that cause pain and can’t be returned. We know this because we’ve seen it happen a lot over the past few months. I’ve lost count of the number of runners who came seeking our …

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The Importance of Asking More Information

Jack was referred to us by his Physical therapist. It was suggested that he try on the Brooks Dyad. The Dyad is a unique shoe in that it is designed for a flat-stable foot. Unfortunately the majority of shoe manufacturers don’t recognize that this foot type exists. So there are not many options available. Even fewer shoe fitting experts know how to use this type of shoe.

At first glance I noticed that Jack did not have a flat foot. In fact, he had a very high, rigid arch. My first thought was the Dyad was not an appropriate shoe for him. But I needed more information before making that suggestion. So, I asked Jack why he was seeing a PT. Turns out he is experiencing pain due to extremely tight muscles, both intrinsic and extrinsic, of the lower limb. Again, This information has me thinking the Dyad is not appropriate. One last question led to my discovery that Jack also has neuropathy. Neuropathy affects the nerve endings which, in Jack’s case, was causing burning and numbing sensations in his feet. …

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