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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Taking the time

A few months back Brendt stopped by Lucky Road to seek our advice for a chronic injury issue. He was experiencing pain to the lateral aspect, outside area, of his left shin. If he stopped running for a week or so the pain would go away. But soon after he started running again the pain returned. This was happening over and over. Brendt went to see a local orthopedist and explained his experience. After Brendt waited for over an hour, the good doctor finally came in and spent about 3 minutes of his time to tell Brendt he had a mild strain and to stay off it for two weeks, then he could resume running again. There was no examination, no research of running history, no observation of gait and no time to answer Brendt’s questions. Brendt deserved better.

So Brendt came to see us at Lucky Road. Now I’m no doctor, but I do have a degree in sports medicine and consider myself an expert in the area of running related injuries. I also considered it an honor that …

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Doing what is best

WARNING: The following post is sure to offend certain sales professionals. However, this is intended to be a public service announce to the remainder of the general running population. Enjoy 🙂

During the summer of 2008, I attended an annual running industry conference. The economy was tanking at the time and one of our breakout sessions tried to address that issue. I was surprised to learn that the other store owners in the room reported a significant decline in sales that year. I was the odd man out of their commiseration party because my company was actually up about 20%. Yes, I got some weird looks of disbelief. So I just sat and listened as the discussion ensued on ideas of how we could make up for the drop in sales. The retail experts in the room began explaining the art of “up-selling”, methods of getting customers to buy more products during their visit. I was the lone dissenting voice in the room. I explained that the success of my running store was due to being honest with my clients, taking …

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Shin Splint Lesson #1

You’re probably wondering why this amazingly good looking man is pointing to another runner’s lower leg. Well, this is a quick lesson on the subject of “Shin Splints.” Keep in mind that the term “shin splint” has evolved into a generic term to describe just about any pain above the ankle and below the knee. At Lucky Road, we prefer to be a wee bit more detailed. This incredibly hansom man is actually pointing to a muscle on the front of the shin known as the “Tibialis Anterior.” There are two main reasons why runner’s may experience pain to this muscle:

1) A lack of shock absorption from our running shoes. Old or worn out shoes don’t disperse impact forces as well as newer models. If our shoes don’t absorb impact, those forces can increases stress to the front of the shin, or the “Tibialis Anterior.” In many cases a new pair of shoes with good cushioning can alleviate anterior shin pain.

2) An imbalance of strength and flexibility between the front and back of the leg. The Tibialis Anterior …

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SHIN SPLINT LESSON #2: Medial shin pain

Keeping in mind that the term “shin splint” has evolved into a generic term to describe any pain below the knee and above the ankle. At Lucky Road we prefer to be a wee bit more detailed. In lesson #1 we discussed pain to a muscle known as the “Tibialis Anterior”, front of the shin. Today we will discuss pain to a muscle known as the “Tibialis Posterior” located to the medial or inside of the shin. There are two main reasons we runners may experience pain along the Tibialis Posterior muscle.

1) Excessive medial motion or overpronation of the shoe. The tibialis posterior muscle/tendon is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the subtalor joint (the medial or inside of our ankle/heel) and the talo-navicular joint (the highest point of our arch). If our running shoes roll too much under our arches, the tibialis posterior is forced to work much harder and can be strained. Pain as a result of excessive motion/overpronation can, in many cases, be alleviated with the use of stability shoes.

2) Falling arches. During the stance phase …

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Just my thought for the day…

Today I took off work and drove to Fredericksburg, VA to visit with my Grand Mother. She’ll celebrate her 100th birthday this May. As we sat together holding hands, I kept looking into her eyes with hope for any glimmer of recognition. But she doesn’t remember me anymore, and thats ok… because I remember her. I remember how she always had a room ready for me. I remember how I couldn’t leave without being cajoled into eating a piece of her homemade pie. I remember the enjoyment of helping her with the dishes. I remember the disappointment when she had an automatic dishwasher installed. I remember her thanking me for taking her to a road race so she could see me run. I remember the Christmas she gave me a scrapbook with years of newspaper clippings from my running career. I remember that no matter what challenges life threw at me, she would tell me I was special. I remember she always had time for me. And that’s the point, Time. Time well spent is time with those we love. …

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Great, how much is this going to cost?

Jonathan is a middle school age athlete who visited Lucky Road a few weeks ago with his family. After introducing myself to everyone I got the impression that Jonathan’s Dad wasn’t too thrilled to be here. It’s just me but he had that look of “oh brother, how much is THIS going to cost.” His dad went on to explain that because of Jonathan’s feet his doctor suggested he get more supportive shoes and supportive insoles. A mutual friend, Tammy, recommended they visit Lucky Road. (and for that we say Thank You)

At first appearance Jonathan’s inner ankle bones pointed toward each other while his heels pointed away. If all we did was observe him standing we might come to the same conclusion as his doctor. However, we know that feet can behave differently between standing, walking and running so we observed Jonathan run as well. Sure enough, he demonstrated a neutral running gait. When he stopped running and stood still, everything relaxed again, his ankles rolled back inward and his heels pointed away.

The Tibial Posterior muscle/tendon tracks along the …

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Who’s the idiot now?

Going back in time to when I first started in this business of helping runners find shoes they love, a nice lady named Anne came to see me. Anne exhibited the most severe degree of excessive medial motion (overpronation) I’d ever seen. All of my training at that point told me that she needed the most severe degree of support a shoe could offer. However, each shoe we tried from the Motion Control category caused her pain. She couldn’t wear them. So, we compromised and tried shoes with less control. Again, Anne was in pain and couldn’t wear them. So, we compromised and tried shoes with even less control but experienced the same results. This went on for a while until we finally settled on a pair of shoes that Anne just loved, a light-weight trainer by Adidas called the Gazelle.

On a spectrum of footwear, with Motion Control at one end and light weight trainers at the other end, the Gazelle was at the far end of the light weight trainer side. The exact opposite of what I originally …

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To stabilize or not to stabilize…that is the question

So far this week we’ve had two unrelated visitors with similar circumstances. Sam runs for his local HS XC team. He visited Lucky Road earlier this week for new shoes. Last year we assessed Sam as having a neutral gait and he seemed perfectly fine with neutral shoes. This year however Sam had done his research online and was convinced he needed more support. Against our advice he insisted on getting a pair of stability shoes. The very next day Sam was back. After one run, in the shoes he was convinced he needed because of what he learned online, his feet and legs were hurting. It took a little doing on our part to get Sam to realize what he learned online was very misleading. He was better suited for neutral shoes. We brought a few pair for him to test run and he could feel the difference. We expect when Sam returns we’ll hear all about his successful XC season.

Leonard is a fine gentleman who visited Lucky Road but did not want an assessment. Leonard had been told, …

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Gait that knee pain away!

Shon visited Lucky Road last weekend. He was searching for a new pair of running shoes and a compression sleeve for his aching knee. It would have been super easy for me to just sell him one of the knee sleeves we have in stock, but that’s not what Lucky Road is about. It was important for me to take some time with Shon to discuss his knee pain. In doing so we were able to determine the source of his pain. While conducting a thorough gait analysis we observed that Shon was leaning a little too far forward. He was also overstriding, meaning his feet were making initial ground contact too far in front of his center of gravity. With each stride he was basically thundering down the track. That thundering was traveling up the kinetic chain straight to his knees. Yes, a sleeve would have helped mask some of his discomfort. But we spent a little more time with Shon teaching him how to straighten his torso and get his foot-plant directly under his center of gravity. Shon …

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