Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"Superfeet" and the one-legged squatter

Anyone ever heard of Superfeet? Or tried them?

If not, allow me to enlighten you...

They come in a variety of styles, colours and levels of torture. Mine are bright (almost lime) green... and they're "Performance quality"... for athletes... (Yeah... that's me, for sure... Right...)

I bought them yesterday, at the urging of my physical therapist. During our last two sessions he had me stand in sock feet in front of him. Both times, he crouched down, looked at my legs, and knees and feet and would then say.... "Hhhhmmmm.... Well.... You're pretty flat-footed..."

Me, being the wizard of body awareness I am (... er... again... not so much...) would stare at him blankly and say, "I am…? What does that mean?"

Yesterday, this resulted in an examination of my running shoes and a long and detailed explanation about how my feet hit the ground when I walk or run, how they roll around and why what I do is bad.

Very bad indeed.

I was told yesterday to go and by some "Superfeet"... In case you're still wondering what they are, they're special insoles with arch supports. One stop short of orthotics and about a tenth of the price.

So after work, I trundled off to Mountain Equipment Co-op, runners and gym socks in hand, and got myself a pair of Superfeet.

They didn't feel great when I tried them on in the store, but hell... if they get me back running again, I really don't give a damn.

Tim gave me a carrot, you see. (He's very good at that...) "Once you get used to the Superfeet, we can get you started on a run/walk program... after we teach you how to tape up that knee, too..."

All I heard was the word "run" and I nodded in agreement – quiet and calm on the outside and eager almost to the point of salivation on the inside... Sure... yeah... whatever it takes to get these short, stumpy little legs back to running.

I don’t quite know why I’m like this… it’s not like I’m even good at running (and really… it’s barely faster than a walking pace, what I do…) but it is one of the few physical activities I’ve ever enjoyed in my life… Having had a taste and then having it taken away has left me… hungry… shall we say…

Anyway, I tried these new Superfeet today at the gym. Felt like there was a sizeable, round, smooth rock nestled under each non-existent arch. I walked on the treadmill for half an hour and survived, but it wasn’t exactly fun.

Today’s balance exercises were positively laughable. There were hints of balance here and there, but I felt like I was tumbling all over the place today. Very embarrassing…

Then there were squats.

New and improved squats, I might add. (My trainer will be thrilled, I'm sure...)

When I complained to Tim that I didn’t have great balance with my assisted-one-legged squats, which entail bracing myself against the wall with one leg and squatting with the other, he replied, “Well… you’ve got to learn to balance. You’ll need to balance when you run…” (There’s that word again… “run”… making me salivate like Pavlov’s dog…)

He continued, “So… we’re just going to take that wall away from you now. Just squat on one leg… no wall.”

No wall!

I tried today… Minus the wall and adding the Superfeet.

Surprisingly, I did not fall down. The squats were far from perfect, but I managed 2 x 10 for each leg. Rivulets of sweat streaming down my back... Tell me, how can one exercise be so damned hard??

If I look back one semester, at the beginning of the fall semester, Chris showed me two-legged squats. I hated them, could not (and would not!) do them. I tried at home a few times, just about fell on my ass and everything shook like a big bowl of jello. Far too demoralizing....

Now at the beginning of this semester, not only do I do squats every single freaking day, I sometimes do them in public… now on one leg…

And I might add… everything still jiggles like a big bowl of jello… Maybe lime jello… to match the colour of my Superfeet... and my iPod mini.


robtherunner said...

Superfeet always come highly recommended. The local Fleet Feet store has a runner that is sponsored by Superfeet and holds special certification in biomechanics from Superfeet. I am with you on the ball feeling inside of your feet. I bought a pair, but they drove me crazy so I took them out. Listen to your doc though and not me.

madcapmum said...

The feet change everything - last year at this time, I could barely walk from one end of our smallish house to the other without agony, and this year I just got back from a 1.5K walk. The difference is the orthotics.

I went to a podiatrist first this time (last time the orthotics were a disaster) and she prescribed the exactly right thing. The last pair hurt, this pair never does. My knees and hips don't hurt anymore either. They're more expensive than over-the-counter, but really worth it in the long run.

Have I mentioned how impressed I am with your determination to fitness?!

Turtle Guy said...

Several years ago I found myself - one night, like MCM - crippled to the point of excruciating pain. I, too, went to a podiatrist for assessment. I came away with orthotics - hard, plastic ones - absolutely NO flex whatsoever. Almost immediately I felt improvement. The one drawback, I was told, was that RUNNING would be more difficult. I suppose for someone who runs consistently, this would be a consideration, however I found myself enjoying the comfort more than experiencing any inconvenience.

My most recent pair of orthotics were built in September, only this time a lift was added to the right side to compensate for a 2.5cm leg-length discrepancy. Form-wise, much more pliable, and fitted to the point you probably wouldn't know I had orthotics in my shoes to look at them. Orthotics are costly, only if you're not considering the return. $480.00 CDN has afforded me great comfort and ease of mobility. My back problems originate with my feet, so it only made sense to start the restructuring there. I was told that I would feel an odd sensation in the arches of both feet because of the increased support. (I have a high arch in my left foot causing it to be effectively 2 sizes SHORTER than my right) After having worn the orthotics for about 3 weeks, that sensation disappeared as the support became "the norm". Oh yes, and the casting process is really neat... kinda like mud-packs for your feet... warm water and plaster... ahhh....

Quite simply, I'm sold!

ipodmomma said...

how nicely it works that you are so colour-coordinated.. :)))

I have to wear inserts, fom all my years of wearing Birks... very high arches for which most trainers have no allowance.

(I nearly ended that sentence with a preposition, but as I checked for spelling errors, I worked it differently. sorry for ending other sentences with a prep. I hope it doesn't make you cringe every time it happens!)

but my inserts for my walking trainers are getting old, and so I switched them with my street trainers, and will need to get at least one new pair when we are on holiday... Superfeet, you say... hmmmm...

will look into this! ta love!

madcapmum said...

Hmmm, I got mine in St. Albert, and they were about $300C. Full foot length, leather over plaster, and getting the leather replaced costs $25.

Sarah Elaine said...

Hhhmmm... I guess these inserts (either specially made or over-the-counter) are more common than I thought. I always feel warm and fuzzy inside when I find out that I'm not the freak of nature I suspected I was! (No, I'm not being sarcastic -- I actually mean that.)

madcapmum said...

If I didn't have a shred of vanity left (I'm close, but not quite there), I'd post a picture of my horrible shoes, men's size 8, EEEEEE. Talk about freaky! Other than those, I have to wear special sandals that accomodate my orthotics.

My feet are a disaster, but at least they don't hurt much when I wear my insoles.

olga said...

I love Superfit, the Green one! For more on getting back to running and/or staying injury free, here is a thought:
I've heard from friends about it, and just ordered it myself.

zouzou said...

I have orthotics. Must say they limit the types of shoes I can wear, frou-frou sandals only if I'm planning to sit around and be a princess. otherwise I have sports ones for runners and dress orthotics for whatever else I can fit into. Welcome to the healthy (and pain-free) foot club!

Damien said...

Sounds like something i need, I'm finding that my feet start hurting
quite a bit right near the in soles
if I've been on my feet to long? Happens with every pair of shoes i have!!

Anyway a late happy new years.

Kim said...

gotta love squats.. They are a hard exercise to master. My previous trainer liked to torcher me with squats and side lunges, talk about no balance.. then once I got the hang of that he threw a barbell on my shoulders :o)

Hopefully the new 'feet' will get you back to running for longer times very shortly!

kt said...

sarah! mee tooo on the superfeet. when i got my brooks beasts, they really recommended the superfeet. so that took about $100+ shoe to about $160 when all was said and done. i think the superfeet were like THIRTY BUX! wow! well, the other day i decided to put in my dr. scholls TOO. i had a great run today. i'm w/ 1/2 your commentors: no more barefooting it around the house for more fru-fru shoey-shoes! i wear nice looking tennies everywhere (instead of the KEDS i lived in used to) WITH insoles for arch/heel. i have yet to go the podiatrist route. i would hate if they were hard and i couldn't run. perhaps they have diff kinds? well, for now, i THINK what i have is working. BUT i still might go down that road. might help w/ the never ending shin splints? the inner lower leg excruciating pain? that's why i'm trying to build up my insole w/ these extra insoles. hmmm never ending, eh?
glory to God tho! ~~ kt