Feet – they’re funny old things really aren’t they? Our feet carry our heavy loads from the moment we learn to walk, we squash them into ill-fitting shoes, we walk miles and miles without resting and sometimes if we’re feeling kind we might invest in a little pamper and give ourselves a pedicure, or even better let someone else give us a pedicure. Sometimes we pop a little moisturiser on them or a bit of nail varnish to make them look pretty but do we ever really consider how important our foot health really is? I have never particularly liked my feet, my toes are short and nearly all the same length (I look like I have kicked a wall), I have a really high arch and my toes rarely touch the floor.
A little bit of my history
Waaaaaay back when I was at school I used to long cross-country running, I was quite good at it too and was even selected to represent our school in an inter-counties race. I took part in all the school sports classes and all was going well until my mid-teens when I started to suffer with swollen and painful knees. I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia patellae and advised to rest my knees as much as possible and to slow down on sports so I missed lots of PE lessons at school.
Years later in my early twenties I sprained my ankle for the first time, I suffered with an ingrown toenail on my left foot and had to have it removed, I sprained my right ankle and then my left one again. When out dancing the night away in bars and clubs I would get the most horrendous burning sensation in my feet that would shoot pain up my ankles. I was diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the nerves between the third and fourth toes on both feet so I had an operation to remove them.
In my thirties I sprained both ankles a few more times and during pregnancy I suffered with debilitating pain in my hips which made sleep almost impossible. I developed sciatica too, how could all of this be possible when I was only in my thirties?? This year shortly after my 40th birthday I sprained my left ankle again and this time was told that I have hypermobility in my joints, something which used to be called ‘being double-jointed’. I used to think it was a good thing to be double jointed, it meant I was more supple and bendy but no, in actual fact it meant that my joints were more susceptible to damage.
A chance meeting
Back in September I attended the Hotter VIP Event and was lucky enough to be introduced to Adrian Woolley from The Fane Clinic in Peterborough. I apologised to Adrian when I hadn’t heard of The Fane Clinic but was definitely interested to know more. Adrian explained how the positioning of the foot can be responsible for the majority of ailments in the lower body and that by treating the foot, you can free the body of many aches and pains which have troubled you for years. I explained to Adrian how I had managed to sprain both ankles numerous times over the years and that I had various aches, pains and ailments in my feet, knees, hips and lower back and so he has offered to make me a pair of orthotics free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion of their service and the results of the orthotics over the coming months.
Finding the Clinic
The Fane Clinic is situated just off the Paston Ridings a short car journey from Peterborough City Centre in a beautiful listed Farm House building. There was ample parking at the front of the building when I arrived and you enter through the front of the building – be warned the door opens outwards!!
Inside I found the Reception to the left in a quaint period room with a lovely original inglenook fireplace and a friendly happy face behind the Reception desk. The Receptionist checked me in and asked if I had managed to find my way there without too much difficulty and chatted to me with ease. I only had to wait a couple of minutes before Adrian arrived to take me through for my consultation.
Adrian began by taking down notes of my medical history and past operations. He wanted to know if there was any medication that I was currently taking and then wanted to know what it was that had made me seek his help. Other than my recent bout of ankle sprains I had attended the hospital last year as I had suffered with much ankle pain and severe stiffness which the hospital had been unable to pinpoint. They could see that I had swelling in my joints but nothing was picked up on an MRI scan and the medication they prescribed did nothing to help me. After my own research into natural healthcare I had stumbled upon Devil’s Claw and have been mostly pain-free for the past year but I wanted a more permanent cure without having to take any kind of medication.
We began by taking my height and weight measurements, just be careful I’m sure Adrian tried to make me out to be a few pounds heavier – either that or he needs his eyes testing (honest mistake). Next, I was asked to stand on a special sensor pad which measured how my weight was distributed through my feet.
When I first looked at the screen, despite knowing that Adrian was measuring my feet, I asked “what’s that?” and then immediately after “where are my toes?”. I was genuinely surprised that my feet were so bad but I commented that it would probably be a good idea if I avoided doing foot print painting in the future. My footprints looked more like a set of hooves than a human, seriously WHAT THE ?????
Getting to grips with my feet
Next up it was time to take a load off and lay back on the bench whilst Adrian took a good look at my feet. Upon examination he commented that the tendons on my toes were very tight which made them pull up in a kind of ‘claw’, he remarked on the callouses on the balls of my feet which showed where pressure was placed upon my feet and would no-doubt be the reason behind my Morton’s Neuromas many years ago. I also have a tight Achilles Tendon which means my foot doesn’t lift up at the toes as much as it should and as GP had previously noted. I have quite ‘floppy’ ankles. I was also interested to discover that my left leg is fractionally longer than my right. Didn’t Adrian pick a challenge when he suggested making my orthotics!
These feet were made for walking
I hopped up onto the treadmill where I saw that a video was set to record my movements from the front and behind my feet. Before setting the treadmill into motion Adrian noticed that I have ‘fatty deposits’ on my heals. Something which I explained always puts me off wearing pretty ‘slingback’ shoes as I hate my feet from behind too. He explained that this was due to the pressure being placed on my heals and transferring back into my heals. Adrian also pointed out where the creases in the backs of my knees were uneven due to one leg being slightly longer than the other AND my knees turn slightly inward due to my having collapsed arches. The result of this is that my knee caps will not move ‘up and down’ as they are designed to but will instead move more side to side and cause pain (hello, Chondromalacia patellae).
As soon as the treadmill spurred into motion Adrian commented on how my feet would ‘flick’ as I walked as they tried to transfer the pressure. A ‘healthy’ foot should hit the floor on the back outside edge of the heal, transfer along the outside of the foot and pass out through the big toe propelling you forward. Mine doesn’t do this . . . at all!
After two minutes on the treadmill, Adrian stopped the recording and played it back through the video monitor situated at the front of the treadmill so that I could see exactly what he was seeing. He slowed the video right down to show me how my foot works in motion and I could see precisely what it was that he was getting at.
The final piece of the jigsaw came in the form of a ‘foot photocopier’. I had to wear a special pair of socks which smelled of lovely fresh laundry detergent and then stand on the foot scanner, one foot at a time. Once on the scanner, Adrian repositioned my foot and asked me to hold the position whilst the scanner did it’s work.
Coming up . . .
Adrian explained that it would now take approximately 2-3 weeks for my orthotics to be made by Edser Labs and coated by their specialist lab in Wimbledon. Once he had received them back, I would be invited to go back for my fitting and would then be sent away to see how I get on with my new foot positioning.
Tune in next time to find out more above my journey to a pain-free me!