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Kinesiology & Custom Footbeds
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Kinesiology & Custom Footbeds on 08/15/2009 10:07:12 MDT Print View

I've owned several sets of custom footbeds and have had overall great "success" with them. I do recall needing to have one set re-made because they were causing me pain. My most "recent" set is ancient, falling apart and the edges are eating up my shoes and socks... but I can't swallow the ~$400 for another pair. So I made some.

I casted my feet in an unloaded position and laid up and vacuum-bagged a composite of carbon fiber and kevlar, overlaid with thin neoprene. These fit great and are really comfy! I've been quite pleased with them overall. However, I've noticed back pain over the last week... and only been wearing these regularly for about two weeks. I've had all sorts of back problems over the years (the reason I wear custom footbeds), and at first attributed the back pain to a lumpy bed, etc--then realized the obvious.

When standing with the orthotics in my shoes in a "neutral" stance, ie positioned neutrally as aligned by the orthotics, I've found that rolling my feet inward a little changes the pull (tension?) I feel on my back muscles. As I roll my feet inward (flatten them) I can feel the muscle tension in my lumbar region spreading outward and more neutral, whereas the orthotics focus muscular use toward my spine.

My question revolves around what I pretty much know to be true and what I hope or would like to be true: Any chance my body will just adapt to the new orthotics? Or do I need to remake them with a less-pronounced arch?

As a follow-up, making the cast on a weight-bearing foot and more collapsed arch doesn't make a ton of sense to me. It seems like it wouldn't provide enough support, and the orthotics are intended to prevent that collapse?

Any words of advice from the medical, physical therapy, sports health or kinesthetic community here?

EDIT: A corollary example is new eyeglasses. When people get new glasses, it can sometimes take them several days to adjust to the new prescription...

Edited by 4quietwoods on 08/15/2009 10:12:18 MDT.

Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
your trifling in affairs best not meddled with on 08/15/2009 17:54:56 MDT Print View

I can't see a myog pair of orthotics being a successful endeavor. Tweaking your back is going to cost a lot more than $400. If you want to alleviate back pain and maybe reduce the need for orthotics there isn't enough to be said for yoga. Also going barefoot could help to strengthen your feet. Just as I wouldn't perform my own dental work I would save podiatry for someone who went to the years of school to learn what they are doing.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Arch Collapse mechanism on 08/16/2009 00:06:08 MDT Print View

What you are terming arch collapse is probably over-pronation. Over-pronation is not controlled by supporting the arch directly, but by reducing the range of motion of the navicular (sp?). A podiatrist or pedorthist moving your foot into and out of neutral can demonstrate this motion to you.

Remember too that the foot is designed to have some pronation; it's why you can't walk normally in plastic mountaineering boots without a sole rocker. The foot rolls through it's gait cycle because of pronation followed by some supination. It's over-pronation that causes the exagerated compensation motions that lead to instability in the knees, hips, and lower back.

Over-pronation has long been a problem for me. I discovered at my first Phil Oren workshop that while my neutral size was 11 3/4, I elongated to 14! when I weighted. Custom footbeds and trying to build foot strength over the last 12 years has made a huge difference. Good luck with your MYOG 'beds, but I would probably stick with prescription beds. Or you could try the Superfeet customs, much cheaper than full customs.