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trying to understand my feet...

Posted by Suzanne D on 1/20/02 at 09:14 (070629)

I have become curious about something that I had forgotten for years: when I was a little girl, about 3 years old, I wore 'corrective shoes'. I don't remember wearing them, but there is a picture of me in these ugly little brown, high-top, lace-up shoes. I remember asking my mother years later why I wore such shoes, and she told me they were 'corrective shoes' that I wore because my ankles were weak and my feet turned somewhat. (In or out, I am not really sure; somehow I think 'out'.) Neither of my parents are living, so that's all the information I have. Was this a common practice 40-some years ago to have children wear these type of shoes? What were they usually prescribed for?

I have wondered since my PF began 6 months ago more about my feet and what could have caused this. That started my thinking of these shoes I wore as a child. I had never heard of pronating or supinating until I found this site. I THINK I am a supinator. I have high arches, a long, thin foot - more narrow in the heel than the forefoot. Upon examining my shoes after the onset of PF, I discovered that the outsides of the heels were more worn on every pair. I also saw a video of me walking, and I was somewhat surprised to see that it appeared that I sort of 'waddled' from side to side as I walked. I never realized that.

I asked the Pod that I see what about my feet or my walking, etc. may have brought on the PF, and he just said that my particular type of feet are more prone to it than others. I asked him if my arches were high, and he said they were, but he didn't really seem to want to continue the discussion.

I am trying to educate myself as much as possible to help in correcting the problem and so I will choose wisely the right type of shoes, etc. Right now I wear Birkenstocks or Birkenstock inserts which seem to be helping, tape my feet, stretch, ice sometimes, and take NSAIDs occasionally.

Any thoughts on what I have shared would be appreciated! Thank you.

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Julie on 1/20/02 at 09:39 (070633)

I wore those shoes too, Suzanne, for years. Every time I needed new shoes my mother marched me off to a special store miles away where my feet were x-rayed (I can still see those little greenish bones! - I'm sure they don't do this any more) and I was fitted for yet another pair of brown high-topped lace-ups. I don't know why - and I don't remember feeling different, so perhaps everyone else had them too, and perhaps it was a fad, like tonsillectomies in the olden day (though mine are a lot more olden than yours, I hasten to add).

Most shoes (if not all - I wouldn't know) show more wear on the outsides of the heels - that's where the foot strikes first in the gait cycle. It doesn't necessarily mean you're supinating. The rolling-in movement (pronation) follows that initial strike; if the foot rolls in more than it ought to, that's excessive pronation (this is a huge simplification - doctors correct me if I've got it wrong please). I'm an excessive pronater (pronator?) and the outsides of my heels wear down first.

I believe the pronating foot is more prone (!) to plantar fasciitis: as I understand it, excessive pronation is one of the prime factors.

Seriously, I wonder if you shouldn't be looking for a new podiatrist. If the one you're seeing isn't interested in talking about why you have PF, there's something amiss! Identifying the cause, so that it can be addressed, is THE essential in the PF battle.

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Suzanne D on 1/20/02 at 18:20 (070692)

Thank you, Julie! As always, you know and understand so much! I have been confused about the pronating and supinating and trying to make sense of it all.

Perhaps it WAS somewhat of a fad for us to be fitted in those corrective shoes as small children! That's interesting...

And you are right; I have been skirting this issue of my doctor as it took so long to get the referral, etc. but in reading more and more on these boards, I am realizing how many things my POD is NOT doing that I didn't even realize he SHOULD be doing. I do not only want to get better, but I want to understand if there is a cause so that I can try to prevent recurrence!

Thanks for responding! I hope you are rested up from your trip and that it was all that you hoped it would be. :-)

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Julie on 1/21/02 at 02:34 (070716)

Hi Suzanne

An effective approach to the treatment of PF has to be a group of treatments chosen by a doctor to address the cause of the particular patient's condition. PF has several predisposing factors, and it manifests in different ways and different degrees of severity in different people, so the treatment that is successful for one person may not work for another. A good doctor will identify the cause(s) and address them appropriately.

A full biomechanical evaluation to determine things that are going on in the gait cycle (such as excessive pronation) should be part of the initial consultation: did you have that? Mine video'd me walking on a machine, and it was instructive to see how much more my right (PF) foot pronated than my left. I think I was lucky there, and also lucky that he proved to be a good caster of orthotics and that he deals with a maker who made mine properly: they were right as soon as I got them.

What made me jump in your first post was the fact that your pod 'didn't seem interested' in helping you find the answer to that most vital question: what is causing this? So I hope you can find a better one. Of course the information and support here are marvellous, but the downside is that there is so much of it, which leads to trying 'a bit of this and a bit of that' - a hit-or-miss approach when what one needs is a comprehensive, specifically targetted approach to one's own particular problem. There is no substitute for a knowledgeable foot doctor who has the patience as well as the skill and experience to work with a patient until the patient is better. The pods who contribute their time and their knowledge here are marvellous, and give us a benchmark: we have a good idea of what to look for when hunting for one of our own.

Thanks for asking about my trip. It wasn't a total success. I picked up a cold on the plane and was under the weather with an exhausting cough for most of the two weeks. And I don't really get on with tropical humidity, and I got bored with palm trees. Oh, and the 'yoga master' was a dead loss, a terrible teacher. But the Ayurvedic treatment (massage with coconut oil every day) was very good, so was the food, and so was swimming in the Arabian Sea. And I got a nice tan. So - curate's egg I guess. Thanks for asking.

I hope you're over your flu!

All the best

Julie

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Julie on 1/20/02 at 09:39 (070633)

I wore those shoes too, Suzanne, for years. Every time I needed new shoes my mother marched me off to a special store miles away where my feet were x-rayed (I can still see those little greenish bones! - I'm sure they don't do this any more) and I was fitted for yet another pair of brown high-topped lace-ups. I don't know why - and I don't remember feeling different, so perhaps everyone else had them too, and perhaps it was a fad, like tonsillectomies in the olden day (though mine are a lot more olden than yours, I hasten to add).

Most shoes (if not all - I wouldn't know) show more wear on the outsides of the heels - that's where the foot strikes first in the gait cycle. It doesn't necessarily mean you're supinating. The rolling-in movement (pronation) follows that initial strike; if the foot rolls in more than it ought to, that's excessive pronation (this is a huge simplification - doctors correct me if I've got it wrong please). I'm an excessive pronater (pronator?) and the outsides of my heels wear down first.

I believe the pronating foot is more prone (!) to plantar fasciitis: as I understand it, excessive pronation is one of the prime factors.

Seriously, I wonder if you shouldn't be looking for a new podiatrist. If the one you're seeing isn't interested in talking about why you have PF, there's something amiss! Identifying the cause, so that it can be addressed, is THE essential in the PF battle.

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Suzanne D on 1/20/02 at 18:20 (070692)

Thank you, Julie! As always, you know and understand so much! I have been confused about the pronating and supinating and trying to make sense of it all.

Perhaps it WAS somewhat of a fad for us to be fitted in those corrective shoes as small children! That's interesting...

And you are right; I have been skirting this issue of my doctor as it took so long to get the referral, etc. but in reading more and more on these boards, I am realizing how many things my POD is NOT doing that I didn't even realize he SHOULD be doing. I do not only want to get better, but I want to understand if there is a cause so that I can try to prevent recurrence!

Thanks for responding! I hope you are rested up from your trip and that it was all that you hoped it would be. :-)

Re: trying to understand my feet...

Julie on 1/21/02 at 02:34 (070716)

Hi Suzanne

An effective approach to the treatment of PF has to be a group of treatments chosen by a doctor to address the cause of the particular patient's condition. PF has several predisposing factors, and it manifests in different ways and different degrees of severity in different people, so the treatment that is successful for one person may not work for another. A good doctor will identify the cause(s) and address them appropriately.

A full biomechanical evaluation to determine things that are going on in the gait cycle (such as excessive pronation) should be part of the initial consultation: did you have that? Mine video'd me walking on a machine, and it was instructive to see how much more my right (PF) foot pronated than my left. I think I was lucky there, and also lucky that he proved to be a good caster of orthotics and that he deals with a maker who made mine properly: they were right as soon as I got them.

What made me jump in your first post was the fact that your pod 'didn't seem interested' in helping you find the answer to that most vital question: what is causing this? So I hope you can find a better one. Of course the information and support here are marvellous, but the downside is that there is so much of it, which leads to trying 'a bit of this and a bit of that' - a hit-or-miss approach when what one needs is a comprehensive, specifically targetted approach to one's own particular problem. There is no substitute for a knowledgeable foot doctor who has the patience as well as the skill and experience to work with a patient until the patient is better. The pods who contribute their time and their knowledge here are marvellous, and give us a benchmark: we have a good idea of what to look for when hunting for one of our own.

Thanks for asking about my trip. It wasn't a total success. I picked up a cold on the plane and was under the weather with an exhausting cough for most of the two weeks. And I don't really get on with tropical humidity, and I got bored with palm trees. Oh, and the 'yoga master' was a dead loss, a terrible teacher. But the Ayurvedic treatment (massage with coconut oil every day) was very good, so was the food, and so was swimming in the Arabian Sea. And I got a nice tan. So - curate's egg I guess. Thanks for asking.

I hope you're over your flu!

All the best

Julie