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Nick Amato 01-05-2008 10:37 PM

Questions about foot orthotics...
I have been wearing custom foot orthotics (fitted by a podiatrist) in all footwear since around 1995-1996. I developed very thick, painful calluses during basketball season and was told by a podiatrist that the cause was my high arched feet. I am currently wearing these made by Foot Maxx (w/f safe). I am very satisfied with the product and despite a small callus forming now and then have been pain free.

All that being said, I'm wondering if I should be wearing them in shoes when I lift. They are comprised of layers and have a very rigid heel and middle layer that runs from the heel to just short of the ball of my foot and a soft top layer that runs the length of my foot (about .5cm thick that compresses to about .25cm). I've read several posts talking about the benefits of barefoot lifting and "feeling the floor". Am I missing out? Mainly doing WOD's and the slow lifts at the moment, but am hoping to get some coaching on the oly lifts soon. I plan on asking my doctor but I tend to put off visits to doctors of any type unless it's a trip to the ER. Until then thoughts and opinions from the CrossFit community are welcome on all aspects.

If anyone else uses or has used a similar product I'm also curious as to whether or not it's possible to get to a point where I don't need them anymore. I feel dependent on them, which I don't particularly care for...not to mention the fact that when I take them out of one pair of shoes to put in another I feel like people think they're lifts and that I'm "heightening" like Mickey from Seinfeld.

Tirzah Harper 01-08-2008 10:58 AM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
If you're interested in weaning yourself off orthotics, I'd recommend going barefoot or wearing moccasins for gradually increasing intervals. Both really strengthen your foot muscles.

Michael Dykstra 01-08-2008 04:57 PM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
I second what Tirzah said. start off by just going for an hour and slowly increase the length. Once you start getting used to that, try running barefoot.

David Long 01-08-2008 04:59 PM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
I ran in custom orthodics for years. Feet stayed bad, lower legs kept instabilities and imbalences. Nike Free 5.0 is the shoe I wear, feet are gradually improving and it actuaklly hurts to be in orthodics or high arch shoes now. Barefoot is not MUCH more comfortable.

Nick Amato 01-10-2008 10:50 AM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
Thanks for the advice everyone!

David, do you think the Nike Free 5.0, used only for very short periods to start, would be a worthwhile tool for me? During the 3 weeks I waited for my new orthotics to arrive last Spring I wore dress shoes and a pair of flat-soled pumas both with the regular insoles about 85% of the time and adjusted to the change quickly and painlessly. Now that I think about it, the transition back to the orthotics was actually much tougher. I think I'll try to spend about an hour without them later today and see how my "dogs" handle it. Thanks again.

William Hunter 01-10-2008 11:14 AM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
Nick, in a previous life I suffered from various lower extremity pains, most of them caused by running excessively and little else in the way of exercise. Started CF'ing over 3 years ago, which helped out a lot with some of the muscle imbalances I'd been cultivating with the running. However, things got really good about 10 months ago when I purchased the 5.0's and began wearing them whenever I wasn't at work. About that time these foot drills described below (wfs) got linked here and I've been faithfully performing them nearly every day since last spring. For the past 3 months I've been going out for one 7-10 mile hilly trail run per week and have experienced absolutely no foot or knee pain. It's amazing how weak we've let our feet become, and how much better we can perform if we give this crucial area of our body some much needed attention.

Nick Amato 01-10-2008 12:29 PM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
Thanks William, that link is now on my "Bookmark Bar" and I plan on incorporating the drills into my daily routine or warmup...great, another thing to work on to go along with muscle ups, a handstand without support from the wall, bodyweight overhead squat, etc. etc....I could go on all day!

David Long 01-10-2008 07:49 PM

Re: Questions about foot orthotics...
Nick, I wore Orhos 1/2 day, then none, then Frees for a little longer evry day. I haven't run more than 6 miles in them, still wore runners for 13..but all else is Frees.

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