So I saw this lovely no nonsense podiatrist today and she looked me up and down with suspicion. "Walk towards me Dan" she asked. "Now walk away from me. Keep doing that for a bit". I did as I was told and after a few minutes she said she knew what was wrong with me. I'd been suffering from aches and pains in my groin and shins, rendering me useless for running. I'd discovered C25K in April and was ecstatic to have completed the program with ZERO problems.

Alas I was fortunate not to have injured myself further, because today the podiatrist lay me on her couch and told me that one leg was shorter than the other (or longer than the other - whichever way you look at it!). She "mimed" at how my body had been compensating whilst I ran with uneven lengthed legs and it looked horrendous! As my left leg landed (the shorter of the two) and then took off again, my right leg had to twist to maintain my forward motion. Instead of moving forward in a straight line keeping my ankles straight and supported, I was kind of twisting myself along in the most alarming fashion! This along with my flat footedness had left me with weak ankles, unused foot muscles and shin pain!

I was measured up for orthotics which she fitted on the spot. She added 5mm to my left heel to raise me up a bit and then told me to try my running shoes on. Well the difference was amazing. I actually felt upright, which sounds weird, but when I compare to how I stand without any support the difference was black and white. I left with my orthotics fitted, a little spiky rubber ball to exercise my feet and ankle muscles and an instruction to stretch my calves every day.

So my next adventure will be my first run for ages with a hopefully corrected gait. I will let you know the progress.

I know others have said to me on many occasions "Dan get yourself checked out!" and I've hummed and hah'd and dilly dallied. But I'm glad I saw someone who is a muscularskeletal specialist, I'm glad I was told I had a "hippety hoppity" walk, I'm glad I feel I've done something positive to get my body safe for running. It wasn't cheap, but then.......I couldn't run, so I feel it's a good investment.

Happy weekend everyone. I can't wait to get out there and run in a straight line!!!



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20 Replies

  • Really interesting to read this, Dan. I'm struggling with Plantar faciitis at the moment and am doing exercises/stretching advised by a physio, but am seeing little improvement yet. I've been wondering whether I'd be better seeing a podiatrist instead? Let us know how you get on with the orthotics, I'll be following with interest - hope you've finally got yourself sorted! X

  • Stay tuned saruma.....

  • Hi Saruma, i have had PF for about 4 months and it does take time, lots of exercises and patience to get rid of it. My best trick is filling jam jars with ice and water and then rolling them under your feet, you can do this for ages if you are sitting down watching telly or working anyway. I'm sure you know all the stretches like hanging your heels off a step to stretch your calves. I did manage to get rid of the PF in my right foot through exercise but the left heel is being stubborn. I am having a cortisone injection soon which i know will hurt like hell but might just be the cure for the stubborn left heel. I'll let you know if it works.

    To help with running i put gel heels in my running shoes, both so my feet are even. And run later in the day when the PF is less painful.

    Seeing a podiatrist should help, orthotics are very helpful in treating this condition. you should be able to get your GP to refer you to an NHS podiatrist.

    Good luck!

  • You're still running through it then, Natalie? Is it not worsening your symptoms?

  • When i first got the symptoms i thought it was just about getting older and being unfit, i had not heard of PF. It was one of the reasons I started running, i refused to give up and get old at the age of 42! Because one of the causes is being overweight and i am more than 3 stone overweight i decided to try to carry on with it. It has not made it worse but I have to be quite inventive with my runs, a bit longer in terms of rest days, not running until later in the day and really working to reduce the pain before qnd after. I find the heel pain is worse at the start of a run amd then reduces as i get into the rhythm. A friend who is a Podiatrist said it was ok to continue as long as i was really good with the calf stretches before and afterwards. I guess we are all different. The reason i'm going for the cortisone injection, although i have heard it is very painful, is because i want to keep running.

    I must have caught the bug!

  • I went to a sports podiatrist and have not looked back. Your local good running shop should be able to recommend someone.

  • Hey Dan, I was told by a chiropractor that I had one leg 5mm shorter than the other, I was "given" a 5mm insert but it really made me ache, I didn't run at that point either... I guess what I'm trying to say is take it steady! No dashing out and running a marathon!

  • Good advice, thank you! I'm gonna go steps.

  • Sounds like a good result; hope it works out and you're soon back running

  • Thanks oldned

  • Fantastic that she could take one look at you and know exactly what to do and you left with the remedy. Take it easy getting back into it, but I am sure there will be no stopping you once you get back on the so called horse. I am pleased for you.

  • Thanks RFC.

  • This is very interesting and very encouraging, too. Very glad that you felt that she made a difference and hope that you continue to feel the benefits. I'm sure more of us could do with this sort of help. Take care!

  • Cheers Flossie, I will.

  • Hi Dan, I also have one leg shorter than the other, I discovered this in childhood, but it only created problems in my 40's. When I was first fitted with orthotics I was told to gradually get used to them, increasing the time wearing them a little more each day.

    I first saw a podiatrist before I got the running bug, so for the first year or so only had an insert for my left shoe. It wasn't until I started running that due to "knee" problems that I had two new inserts that supported my arches, as well as raising my left leg.

    It really is amazing how much difference those inserts make. Happy Running.

  • That is so good to hear. Thanks bettyjane.

  • What a great result Dan. I hope this sorts the problem and that you'll soon be running further and faster than ever! :-)

  • Thanks dottiemay. I flamin well hope so!

  • Looking fwd to your first post podiatrist run- take it easy :-)

  • Good luck Dan, hope you have found a cure for your aches and pains. Take it slow and steady though, walk before you run as they say :)

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