Or What?

Posted by on June 8, 2008 at 9:58 pm :: 2 Comments

I thought I had a little ankle sprain and seven years later…

My days of embarrassing physical therapy are now over. I wish I could say that the problems with my ankle are also over. But alas, that’s just not the case. I completed another month of physical therapy as instructed by my doctor. However, although it did improve my mobility and range of motion, physical therapy wasn’t as successful in reducing pain and swelling as anticipated. Further review of my MRI revealed a possible reason for this. It turns out that both the peroneal tendons on my left foot, not just one, are torn in multiple places. Tendons are supposed to be tubular, but mine have flattened out and are fraying like a rope. The surgical option is looking more and more likely. However, before the doctor slices and dices, he recommended I try one more thing: orthotics.

My Left Foot’s Orthotic

My Left Foot’s Orthotic

Orthotics are devices used to correct musculoskeletal deformities and other abnormalities of the human body. They are used for everything from cerebral palsy to arthritis. In my case, the orthotics are custom made insoles designed to relieve some of the pressure on my tendons. Additionally, they are intended to correct my abnormal gait and other biomechanical issues associated with my extremely high arches.

The word “orthotic” sounds old doesn’t it? It makes me think of a hunched back old lady shuffling along sporting penny loafer-ish shoes that only a grandma could get away with wearing. Sadly, I guess I’m the old lady.

After I have had a chance to use the orthotics for a couple months I will know if the condition of my ankle has improved enough to avoid surgery or not.

Any of you who have high arches beware! The risk of damaging your peroneal tendons is much greater if your arches are high. This is one of the reasons I get to wear orthotics on both my feet now and probably will have to continue wearing them for the rest of my life. One bad ankle is most definitely enough, I don’t need two.

What’s the moral of this story kids? If your arches are unusually high you may want to consider getting some sexy orthotics so you can avoid an injury such as mine.


  • Thanks to a podiatrist in NYC who was happy to let the patient prescribe himself I got some orthotics while I was a missionary there. It’s possible it was a good thing but he didn’t bother to think about it, just plastered my feet and took my insurance card. Anyway, that’s not the point:

    I remember well how painful they were at first and how comfortable they became as my feet adjusted to them. Remarkably painful. You can tell because I’ve just remarked on how painful they were. Of course we did walk for as much as 10 hours each day.

    I’ve heard that foot orthotics can also be used to help correct back problems.

  • Rachel says:

    Ah yes, someone else that wears old people contraptions.
    You actually don’t have to get your feet plastered anymore to get orthotics. Thanks to super advances in orthotic technology 🙂 they just heat the insoles up in an ultra advanced orthotic molding device, aka a warming oven, for a minute and then they mold to your feet like magic.
    Yes, they are rather painful to get used to. Sometimes days after I wear them playing soccer I will wake up at night with my arches randomly hurting. The doctor actually recommended using them a little here and a little there until I get used to them, but you know me, I just dive in.
    And yes, they can be used to correct back problems. One of my coworkers wears them for this reason.

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