“10 years of pain and suffering!” – that’s what my feet say when asked about my riding career. They have copped it, mainly due to their high arches, splayed toes, bad circulation, and pre-disposition to chilblains. They really do cop it and I feel more pain in my feet than I do in my legs sometimes. The wrong sort of pain too. I’ve battles for years to get it sorted. Seeing biomechanists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and other professionals. But no success… until now.
To be clear, this isn’t a sneaky plug, it’s merely a report on my experience after the guys at Sport and Spinal Physiotherapy in Gungahlin offered to support me this season and help me with any bike set up or any other issues I needed help with. Due to my lack of success with this stuff in the past I was super skeptical, but willing to try anything. I dropped in to see Craig and Simon there to get an assessment and they pinpointed a few issues that would be affecting my performance and comfort on the bike.
I definitely had my work cut out for me to get back to full form for the summer. Bike set up changes, strength exercises and other corrections. Namely orthotics. This was to come, but just in this first session Craig inserted a simple square bit of foam under each sole, filling a gap where each foot was flexing and causing the severe pain on every ride. It was a pain I’d become used too, but riding home that day I realised how much better it felt riding pain free! I was like having a tooth pulled out after having a tooth ache for years. Such relief and pure comfort again. That was just from one visit.
My second visit would be to finish off my road bike set up, making some mods to seat height, angle and fore-aft position. Plus a stem length check, cleat position and height (I’ve not got lifts in my right shoe under the cleat). That too made a big difference, despite no huge changes. My hill reps the next day were the best I’ve felt in ages.
The next session would be to do the same for my mountain bikes, taking off-road gradients and variations in terrain into account. Again, my set up felt great right away and I felt confident I’d benefit. Of course these things take time to get used to, like any change. But I felt comfortable and ‘free’ straight away. A good sign in my book.
Then the permanent orthotic fit. As well as the inserts they put in initially, additional lifts and support were built into my new custom insoles. These took a few days to get used to, as my muscles had to adapt to the changes, but as time went on they felt better and better. The more power I put down the better they felt. I knew I was more efficient, with less unnecessary movement around the lower leg and feet. Finally some orthotics that worked, on and off road!
Dropping back in to make subtle changes and experiment with bike set up and orthotics were no problem for Simon and the guys. They were always happy to help improve and refine things. I couldn’t recommend them enough. And my feet are in love with them! No more dropping to the ground in pain after each race now, finally!!