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Trying to get athlete's feet

by kirsty
Monday 25th April 2016
 
 
Like most runners I’ve had my fair share of injuries. I’ve done my time strengthening my quads/glutes/hips, I’ve spent more time with my foam roller than I care to remember and I’ve sometimes wondered if a gambling addiction would be cheaper than my physio bill. 
 
Just recently it’s been one niggle after another so a friend suggested that I visit Profeet in Fulham for biomechanical analysis to see if there was some underlying issue in my gait causing my problems. What I expected was the standard ‘run on a treadmill, be told I overpronate, go away without really being any the wiser’. However, what I experienced was much, much more useful than I imagined. 
 
For starters I had to fill out a questionnaire outlining my running, general health, injuries etc, so that Profeet could get a bit of a feel for what I do. Then they examined my feet. Fortunately the sole (no pun intended) benefit of being injured a lot lately is that I have a full complement of toenails and, while I’d never describe my feet as being nice, they have been much worse. They wanted to see how flexible my toes, feet and ankles were, to get an all-round view of my foot health. I’d never had this done before so it was helpful stuff to know, considering how much I rely on my feet for running and general life. 
 

Profeet 1

Next came the assessment on the treadmill and the footscan machine. This involved running shod and then in bare feet on the treadmill and across the sensor, to get a really detailed picture of my gait and how my feet behave when I run. The software they use to assess this is really interesting. They showed me graphs, still frames and an annotated video of my gait. You could clearly see that my ankle was rolling in as I landed, I was putting a lot of force through my big toes and then sprawling the rest of my toes. My knee was also travelling inwards, which might explain my recent hip and ITB problems. All of this made a lot of sense and seeing it on video was really helpful. They talk you through everything really well, there’s no blinding you with science and there’s plenty of opportunity to ask questions. 
 

Profeet 2

And so next we were onto potential solutions for this issue. One solution is obvious and I have to admit that I was very skeptical about it - insoles. I have been given insoles by a physio before and I found them really difficult to get on with. They were rigid and unforgiving, they seemed to force my foot into an unnatural position, they didn’t quite fit my trainers correctly and consequently they gave me no end of blisters. However, Profeet’s insoles are very different. They make custom insoles while you wait. Having analysed where your feet need support, they get you to stand on special vacuum cushions, which mould the insole exactly to your foot. They then take the insole off to their lab in the corner of the shop and finish the insole to your exact specifications. It’s very clever stuff and interesting to watch. 
 

Profeet 3

15 minutes later I had a perfectly moulded insole to try out and they filmed me again running on a treadmill in various trainers. Instantly I could feel that their custom insoles are very, very different to the off-the-shelf ones you can buy. Theirs are flexible and move with your foot. They are designed to assist and support your foot function, rather than forcing your foot into a ‘correct’ position. And importantly, because they’re moulded exactly to your foot they are comfortable right from the off. In fact you don’t really notice they’re there. 
 
One of the things that I found most helpful about the assessment was that they could put freeze frame stills of you running in different shoes and with or without insoles side-by-side. So you could really see how your foot lands in one trainer vs another, or how the insole helps to encourage your foot not to roll inwards. I found this much more useful than relying on what running shop staff say, or trying to make a decision on shoes, based on a couple of minutes running on a treadmill. It’s much more scientific and the evidence is there for you to see.
 
The staff in Profeet were really knowledgable about everything from biomechanics to different models of shoes. They gave me very helpful advice - I found them a bit of mix between a physio, running form coach and shoe geek - and I went away feeling like I had a much better understanding of my gait, its quirks and what weaknesses I had to address. In fact, the aspect of my visit that probably impressed me the most was that they even gave me some exercises and stretches to do to help my weak spots (they even demonstrated these) and I went away with these in a folder which also contained a summary of the analysis they’d done. 
 
2 weeks on and I’ve used the insoles on everything from parkruns to run commutes to fell running and they’re perfectly comfortable and flexible. My injury is improving - mainly from many hours of exercises and stretching over the last few months but I do feel the insoles are helping too - and I’m very glad that I went to Profeet. They give great service and if you do have any issues with injuries or gait then in my opinion they are a very good shop to visit for an assessment. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 

 
 
 
 
 

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