Non-disclaimer: This starts to sound like an advertisement for Powersteps, but it is not–I am just sharing my excitement to have found something that works for me. I was not compensated in any way, but I wouldn’t say no to a Powersteps sponsorship… 😉
My life continues to be busy. There’s nothing exciting going on that I can share regarding that. However, I do want to give an update on the state of my feet. They are… getting there. Improving slowly. Of course, never as fast as I would like.
My physical therapist and I made the decision today not to schedule any more appointments. I am supposed to continue doing my stretches and exercises at home. If I feel I am getting worse or stop improving, the plan is to go back to the doctor to get another PT referral, but we don’t anticipate that will be the case. 🙂
Last year, I was really stubborn about not wanting to wear supports in my shoes. I was convinced that if I worked on strengthening my arches, that would be enough to run injury free. Obviously, strengthening my arches and associated alignment muscles (think calves, butt, hips) is still something to work on. I even have exercises from PT to work on those things. However, everyone’s bone structure and alignment is slightly different and some people are just more prone to issues. So, after a year of on-and-off injuries, I realized it was probably time to get off my anti-support high horse and actually listen when I was advised, once again, to purchase arch supports.
I did have custom orthotics in my preteen years as a competitive figure skater and they completely resolved the knee issues I was having back then, so I’m not sure why I was so resistant to the idea ten years later, but hey. I came around. When I first started going to PT in September for this injury, it was recommended that I get some Powerstep inserts, so I headed to the running store immediately after that first appointment and picked up some Powerstep Pulse orthotics. They felt great and those alone were already a huge help.
This morning, at what will hopefully be my last appointment for a long time, we realized that when I lift my arch, my big toe comes off the ground, too. This means I’m not pushing off my big toe to walk, nor am I using it to stabilize myself when I stand. The only way I can push off my big toe is to consciously roll my foot inwards, which puts strain on, you guessed it, my painful tendon. Or fascia. Not sure which. The painful foot place. My physical therapist told me this rotation is called forefoot varus. She made some wedges to place near the balls of my feet to help support my big toes so I can use them the way they are meant to be used, instead of trying to get power from the smaller, weaker muscles in my smaller, weaker toes.
Unfortunately, most over-the-counter orthotics only correct for varus in the heel, even though forefoot varus is relatively common. I actually have a pretty neutral heel and don’t benefit from heel support, so it turns out that a neutral shoe like the Kinvara (which I love) works great with a customized (i.e. added wedges) Powerstep orthotic, since the Powersteps have a neutral heel cup with no heel correction. After adding the wedges, my feet feel instantly better. Not 100% better and not healed, but I would honestly say it cut my pain in half this morning. I’m sure it helped that she worked to loosen up my right foot a little bit, but both feet feel significantly better and I can already tell I am finally able to use my big toes again!
This probably sounds like an advertisement for Powersteps. It’s not. I’m just really excited that I finally may have found a combination of footwear and supports that works for me. And when these wear out, I will probably drop the $300-$400 it costs to get custom orthotics made just for me so I won’t need the taped-on wedges anymore.
Here’s hoping I’ll be out there running again soon! That is, more than the ten minutes at a time I have been doing twice a week. At the very least, I hope the ten minutes will leave me less sore in the arch area than it has been. Baby steps!