Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Biomechanically challanged...

yes, that's right, I am officially bio-mechanically least my right side is... here is the story: I've been talking a lot about my Achilles tendinitis lately and how now both my ankles are sort of stiff when I run longer distances... I told you how few years ago a Running Room shoe expert told me I need stability shoes cause I over-pronate... and last summer I was told that I didn't need stability shoes but motion control cause my ankles move too much when I run... and finally two months ago (after I ended up with Achilles tendinitis) I was told I actually don't roll in my feet when I run (a sing of over pronation) so I need a neutral shoe (cushioning)... every time I was given a new diagnosis, I bought new shoes and after running with the new pair for few weeks, I'd stop running all together due to pain (in different parts of my feet, knees, or hips)... Turns out, all three sales reps were RIGHT! But they were right at the same time and what I needed was a shoe that would correct for overpronation, cushion, and control excessive motion. The problem is there is no such shoe! Let me explain. yesterday I went to see a specialist, who works mainly with runners. She has so many professional titles so I am still not sure what kind of specialist she really is (or isn't) ... a kinesiologist, podiatrist, orthotist, and another one I didn't bother remembering... regardless of her titles, I was told she knows her stuff. So I booked an appointment. The moment I met her I knew she was a runner so I felt good right away (I've seen several specialist before and had orthoses made but never really wore them as they didn't do much so I was still pessimistic going in to see this new one). Well, 60 minutes later, black (washable) felt pen marks all over my feet, calves, knees, etc, I had a diagnosis. Hallelujah! I was an over-pronator on the right side ONLY and normal on the left! I didn't know one can be both! I still had doubts so  the lady put me on a treadmill and film me walking and running and made me watch it after. What did I learn? Besides seeing clearly on the screen that I badly needed a pedicure, I saw my right foot overpronating and opening to the right every time I took a step. Not only that, my right knee was shifting to the left, and my HIP (it's more the lower back area, not just the hip per ce) was way too mobile, overextending to accommodate for the poor alignment of my right ankle and knee. No wonder why my right lower back/hip area has been so tight and sore, often resulting in a radiating pain down my right hamstring and very sore right gluteus muscles. Phew! I didn't know I was so crooked! Thank God at least the length of my legs is the same!

So, back to the Running Room staff - they were all right but depending which side of my body they observed when they were testing me walk/run. So, obviously, no respectable shoe making company will invest their money in researching how to make shoes for the very bio-mechanically challenged runners-wanna -be and my only saviour is custom made running orthoses that I have to put in the most neutral shoe of all. Right now I have Asics, I had Pearl Izumi before, tried Brooks and all the Nikes, and now I am advised to go with the Mizunos. Apparently their neutral shoe is the least corrective/supportive and best for use with custom-made inserts.  I ordered my orthoses and they should be ready in 2 weeks. I am off to the Running Room again to buy the Mizunos today. Let's hope this will be the end of my running shoes (and pain) saga...

Let me share an experience from my childhood with you :)... I grew up in communist Bulgaria and actually had a lovely childhood. It is a whole new post (if not blog) to talk about the pros and cons of communist regimens but there are several good things that were happening in communist-ruled countries- healthcare, education, and sports. Sports was the way to let people achieve and feel happy so to distract them from the reality. But you couldn't practice any sport you wanted! All children were evaluated at a very young age and assigned to a sport based on body structure. These evaluations were rigorous! They lasted almost an entire day. I remember mine. We were taken to the gym where 10 or so separate assessment stations were set and different specialists took our weight and height, made us run, climb, bend, stretch, throw, kick, jump, etc.. they took measurements (now that I think about it, they were very similar to the ones I had yesterday with the bio-mechanical specialist) and then told us what sport we can register for. I wanted to go into athletics as my best friends was there. I still remember the face of the man who was registering for the athletics team when he said no to me. He had that smile and rolled his eyes when he looked at my file. So, I was banned  discouraged  from running in Bulgaria :) but I was accepted with arms open into the rhythmic gymnastics team where I did very well (Bulgaria was and still is very strong in gymnastics and usually wins all the gold medals at international competitions)... so, being told that I am bio-mechanically inappropriate for running is not news to me but that OK! After all, I can't be perfect, can I (joking)? I can still run for fun and I am loving it (not joking)! I just hope my new inserts are going to take care of the handicap :)

This week so far I ran 10K on Sunday, did hard-core pilates on Monday, and ran 5K yesterday. I am planning another 5K today, then rest and run 8 or 10K before the end of the week. We've been invited to spend the weekend at our friends' chalet so I am hoping the weather would permit cross-country skiing :)

I still have to tell you about my appointment with the nutritionist but have no time now. I will try to do it tonight or tomorrow so stay tuned :) Really interesting stuff!
Happy running to all.


  1. I'll keep my fingers crossed...I really hope this works :)

  2. The story about how they decided what sports you could do was so interesting! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. what a runaround--literally! Success is doing the best we can with the challenges/obstacles set before us. I'm hopeful you'll find a way to adapt and make running work for you. Can't wait to hear all about the nutritionist appt!

  4. Thanks for following my blog!! I hope this works out for you! Whew! That is complicated. I'm excited to hear about your meeting with the nutritionist. I'm working on my nutrition and have a long way to go :)