After finally biting the bullet and doing something about my painful right foot, a local sports physiotherapist diagnosed posterior tibial tendonitis back in September 2012. Since that initial appointment, I have had numerous physio appointments which at almost £50 a time became an expensive habit. Unfortunately, due to my student status I had to quit the physio addiction and started to seek other solutions to the foot pain.
I tried a range of “off the shelf” inserts, heel wedges to raise my right foot, muscle rubs, medication, RICE, RICE and more RICE. Unfortunately the pain in my right foot was pretty persistent meaning I was unable to train consistently.I think I can see the problem with my right foot…
Last summer, after seeing yet more photographic evidence of my ‘wonky’ running style, I paid the Sweatshop store near my university a visit. After spending an hour discussing my injury woes, I left with my first pair of FootBalance customised insoles. Although at £45 a pair they are quite expensive, I justified the cost as one pair equates to less than one physio session. I was also aware that the insoles came with the standard Sweatshop 30 day guarantee. Earlier this month I invested in a second pair as my original insoles were starting to look very, very well used.
Sweatshop emphasise that FootBalance are not an orthotic and are purely designed to enhance the “fit and comfort” of a shoe. In addition, the insoles are not designed to provide rigid support.
FootBalance aims to help the wearer achieve (1) proper alignment, (2) improved performance, (3) better injury prevention and (4) increased comfort. Unfortunately largely due to my laziness I’m still waiting for number 2 to take place.
In order for the insoles to be custom moulded, the preparation of a pair of FootBalance insoles involves 7 stages. The whole process only takes approximately 10 minutes.
1. Arches are analysed using a podoscope.
2. Pictures are taken of your ankles to analyse your alignment with the help of a computer.
3. You stand on heated, unmoulded insoles that have been positioned on the moulding pillows.
4. The expert expertly moulds each of the heated insoles to fit your feet perfectly while maintaining correct alignment.
5. Once the insoles have been individually moulded, the expert ensures that the insoles confirm to the natural arch of each foot.
6. The insoles may be trimmed to fit your footwear if needed.
7. Your new 100% customised FootBalance insoles are now ready for use.
I genuinely do not remember going through stages 1 and 2. I am quite forgetful though so perhaps I did when I purchased the first pair last summer. I do remember having to get into some quite entertaining positions on the moulding pillow.
I believe that these insoles have helped me to manage my posterior tibial tendonitis. My right foot still aches at times (especially at night), but the pain is vastly reduced when I wear my FootBalance insoles. I am now in the process of building up the mileage and trying to increase my fitness levels.
The FootBalance insoles seem to be really resilient and what I term “Emma proof”. I have been wearing the first pair for almost 12 months and although they look a little worn, they still provide the correct degree of support to my right foot.
I inadvertently left Sweatshop with a new pair of trainers (shown here with my new FootBalance insoles). Well it would have been rude not to.
Although at £45 a pair the insoles are quite expensive they are cheaper than the average phsyio appointment. As an added bonus I was given a 10% reduction through Sweatshop’s partnership with England Athletics.