Sunday, 13 March 2016

Foot and Insole Whalley Review (@footandinsole).

I recently posted a blog on Linkedin about an on-going niggle that I've been having with my tendons.  With an increase in volume and load in my training since last August last year, it's led to tight hamstrings and - at times - some discomfort.

Investigating - at first - cleat position and overall position on the bike with Peter 'Spike' Taylor at The Fell Bike and Tri store in Clitheroe, everything seemed fine in terms of the overall pedal stroke, saddle position etc.  Spike then asked me to take off my shoes and socks and had his 'aha' moment.

He spotted straight away that I had over supination in my feet (effectively that they were not in an neutral position). He saw tell tales clues in bursars on my back heel and other signposts.  From his persepctive, the increased training load was exaserbating the condition leading to the outcome in the tendon.

His recommendation was to go and see Graham at the Foot and Insole clinic in Whalley.  I'm glad I did.

Review of Foot and Insole

Organising an appointment over the internet for a consultation and to have a pair of insoles made was easy.  A couple of clicks and I was in. 

Arriving at the clinic - which sits within the Whalley Warm and Dry store (clothing and walking boots retailer) - I was directed upstairs to be warmly greeted by Graham who owns the clinic.  

What initially struck me was how much Graham knew.  An engineer by trade who then began to study bio-mechanics, podiatry etc, he is a real subject matter expert who makes insoles for professional sportspeople of all disciplines, walkers, cyclists, footballers, golfers, rugby players, triathletes - you name it, he has made it and makes it.

After an introduction and initial chat about the reason why I had ended up with him, he quickly got to work on some physical inspection and then detailed analysis.  In the clinic he has software tools which allow him to look at all aspects of your foot movement and where pressure is applied within your feet upon movement or standing still.  It's really clever, identifying key hotspots of concern and alignment issues.

Made to Measure

From the physical inspection, Graham quickly identified that I had one leg around 4mm than the other (in the pelvis neutral position) and also confirmed the supination issue.  It seems my right foot particularly was bearing the brunt of it.

With the combination of physical examination and data analysis, a set of customer inserts was then made in-house, whilst you wait.  Using a combination of cushion and carbon for my road shoes and various layered materials for my daytime shoes, each set was hand crafted to fit with Graham taking time and care to ensure that each element of the insert would do the job, such as not making them too deep to ensure they went in my work shoes OK. 

Foot and Insole Preparing Custom Inserts

How much does it all cost?

The overall consultation was £120 including one set of in-soles, I was with Graham for around 90 minutes in total.  Given the amount that I invest in cycling kit, training and other related items, this was money well spent.  As well as diagnosing the root cause of my tendon pain, I walked away with a solution in terms of the insoles which I'll now wear all the time.  

Graham is highly knowledgable, with multi-disciplinary knowledge of various aspects of health then firmly focused on what role the feet plan in terms of your overall stance, stride and physical performance. 

I'll be recommending to lots of people that I know to go and see him.  He's like one of those best kept secrets.  Those that know, know and I wish I'd got to meet him years ago.  

Now you know, I suggest you go get checked out in order to ensure that your overall standing position is as it should be to ensure injury prevention and problems later in life, particularly if you run a lot, ride a lot or are on your feet a lot.

Following Up

If you would like to contact Sole and Insole, their website is here and you can follow them on Twitter here.  Please domention that you saw them via the blog.  More pics below.

Foot Mould
Cycling Inserts with Carbon Base
Stride and Stance Pressure Scanning Pad

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