Lisa Irish: When it comes to foot and lower limb problems it’s often a person’s leisure activities that tip them over into an injury state. This was definitely the case with Jennifer, one of my patients who’s an avid recreational runner. She loves to run, and despite having a long history of hip and knee pain continued to try and run through the pain for many months. Jennifer first came to see me about six years ago on the advice of her physiotherapist. Her physiotherapist had been treating her for hip and knee pain, but he thought something looked not quite right with her feet and thought maybe she should come and see me. Pedorthists work collaboratively as part of their patient’s healthcare team and as Jennifer physiotherapist and I were fortunate enough to work in the same location, we did a joint consultation.

I conducted a full bio mechanical assessment and a gait analysis and discovered that she had a hypermobile foot and her feet rolled excessively inwards or hyperpronated, especially on her right side. Her biomechanics made it impossible for her to stabilize her foot so her whole right leg had internally rotated which puts a tremendous amount of stress on her hip and her knee.

Jennifer: Before receiving pedorthic treatment, I was concerned that I’d have to stop running because I had persistent pain in my knees and hip. Before consulting a pedorthist it would have never even occurred to me that my pain stemmed from an issue with my feet. I had just assumed as an athlete that I had pulled a muscle, or a tendon, or a ligament.

Lisa Irish: I recommended semi flexible orthotics for Jennifer. I designed the orthotics to slow down the rate at which her foot was rolling toward the inside, and also to limit the total amount that the foot could roll. I wanted to treat her in the activities that created the most stress on her joints so I told her to use her orthotics, especially for running and when she was going for any long walks or extended time on her feet.

Jennifer: My custom orthotics allow me to run pain free and that helps my life every day. It’s allowed me to achieve the goal of running a marathon, and my life long goal of being a runner indefinitely.

Lisa Irish: Today Jennifer cannot run without her orthotics, but with them she’s been able to complete 10 kilometre races, half marathons, and marathon races pain free.

Jennifer: I’ve had a really positive experience working with my pedorthist, she works in conjunction with my physiotherapist. He’s the one that initially suggested that I seek pedorthic treatment and that orthotics might be a solution for my pain. They now work together to keep me pain free.

Lisa Irish: If you are experience persistent pain in your back, knee, hip during any of your regular activities, ask your family doctor for a referral to a Canadian certified pedorthist. Your pedorthist will conduct a full biomechanical evaluation and assessment of your feet and lower limbs and recommend a personalized treatment plan for you.