Mar. 4th, 2017

En-booted!

Mar. 4th, 2017 08:22 pm
frostfox: (foxy)
Long and interesting day.
Nearly started out badly, only my recent habit of checking J19 before setting out saved me a long detour; it's closed all weekend. Hopefully this means that the new by-pass will soon be open. I won't be using it to get to work, but it should make the traffic better for me.

Up the M6 to the picturesque village of Whalley in Lancs, I had a 10.15 booking for at boot fitting.

Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that -
a. I walk a lot
b. I whinge about foot pain a lot
These two things are kinda related; I did have the foot pain before I started walking but it's got worse. I saw a podiatrist on the NHS about five years ago (when I had been walking for about 2 years) about my nerve pain the my right foot. He had the foot scanned and x-rayed but there is nothing to see. The nerve pain persists, mostly when I have been walking on the flat and in a regular rhythm, it seldom troubles me on uneven terrain or in the summer when I wear walking sandals. He fitted me with inserts for my over pronation (which I was unaware of) as a prophylactic to head off any future knee/hip issues.
When I went back to my GP in the autumn, this time with heel pain in the same foot I wasn't allowed to go back to the podiatrist as the soulless, scum sucking bastards in the Conservative Party have gutted and deprived the NHS to the point where I don't qualify for a referral as I am too healthy. Ahem.
So if I develop heart disease or diabetes or some other debilitating illness which means I can no longer walk, I can go see him again...
I did get to see the physio and his exercises and inserts I bought off the internet pretty much resolved the heel pain (my calf muscles had become so strong they were pulling on the heel pretty badly.

Anyway, fast-forward a few months and my walking boots (£109 about 4 years ago) had developed a leak and were on their way out. My Mum, very kindly, said she'd buy me a new pair and I started scouting about for a boot fitter. I wanted an expert to fit them. Finding somewhere near to home was difficult, I expected to find somewhere in Betws Y Coed or Llanberis but failed. I did find Whalley Warm and Dry in Lancashire. And as well as the boot fitting service, they had a foot specialist who could custom make me an insole to correct the over pronation, the heel pain and the Metatarsalgia.

£120. For the consultation and the insole. Which is more than a month's food. But walking is my favourite hobby, I thought it was worth it.

So this morning I trolled up the M6.
Whalley is a pretty little village, often flooded by the river Calder which runs through it.
Whalley Warm and Dry is on the High Street, set back from the road and they have a positive production line of boot fitting going on. A young lass started measuring and taking my notes, when I mentioned my foot pain, she passed me over to the senior who did a fabulous job.
My bad foot (the right one) is a full half size longer than the left and 8cm wider (that's 3+ inches!). Wow. She has seen worse, of course, and I don't have any degenerative bone issues or bunions to complicate matters. She found me a boot with a narrow heel and wide front toe box. They are by a German manufacturer called Meindel.

Then I went into see the insole specialist, Graham. Who was worth every penny of the £120.
He was incredibly thorough, had a lot of high tech kit, he diagnosed what was going on with the foot'o'doom and what he could do to help. He's the first person to notice that the left foot, which doesn't cause my gyp, has the dodgier ankle - that's the one I buggered in 1987 - the doctor said to rest it so I did a Vike show, a wedding, a TV programme and Worldcon in the next two weeks. And it's never been the same since.
Both feet are very unflexible, a good 10% less than they should be. I have exercises and two rollers, one large, one small (I bought these off him, but there was no selling; ball self-massagers are too intense for me, these are somewhat gentler) to help me self massage to loosen up the adhesions in the fascia in my feet and, crucially, my over keen and over developed calves.
The fat pads have moved, due to all that walking and my poor body trying to correct for the tight calves, he could poke my metatarsals, not ideal.
He made me a custom pair of insoles, cushioned ones with special features to protect the weak areas and with a raiser to correct the over-pronation and protect my ankles/knees/hips. They feel like walking on air.

Then I went back out for further boot fitting with the insoles in (I can use the insoles in any shoe they fit, not just the boots). I was shown how to lace them and walked about and up and down an incline in them to check for heel movement and stability. Then the toe box was stretched further to make room for those wide, wide metatarsals. They showed me two types of dubbing for them, told me when and where to use it and the brushes to clean the mud off. All the time, I am thinking 'There's another £20 in accessories' but, no, the dubbing and brushes were gratis (probably because of the £120 insoles). The boots themselves were £160.

So, an expensive day, but I think it was worth it.

I then wandered round Whalley for a bit, had lunch, came home and did the weekly shop. All the while wearing the insoles.
I want to go play with my new toys but the weather for tomorrow looks vile and I'd rather break the boots in gently, I'll wear them lunch time at work for a week or two; 2.5 miles is not far enough to develop any serious blisters and after a couple of weeks, they'll be fine. So tomorrow I will put the insoles in my sad old boots and go for a squelch up the canal to Marbury.

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