The Foot Function Centre

On Monday I took a trip to the Foot Function Centre in Great Blakenham near Ipswich to pick up my new orthotic insoles. You might remember from my last post that I visited a few weeks ago for an initial assessment. I thought I would give a bit more information about this whole process.

Coming from a cycling background and having not ran in anger since I was at school, I was always likely to be susceptible to injuries from running. I was quite careful about how much running I did initially when I started triathlon in 2009 and only ran a couple of times a week. As I got more serious about the sport the following year, I needed to run more. Although I built up carefully I picked up a few bouts of tendinitis in my feet and ankles, especially when I tried to up the intensity of sessions. Following a great season last year I still felt I could go quicker and it was the run section I needed to work on most as I would often loose 2 minutes over the 5km’s we have to cover. It’s probably worth quantifying that however by saying that if you smash the swim and bike as hard as we did in most races last year, you are going to pay the price towards the end…but I still needed to improve really!

Following an assessment by another company. I was subsequently given a set of orthotic insoles that I was never quite happy with. This combined with a slightly altered gait pattern and some wear and tear quickly led to an injured foot in May which continued to bother me for the rest of the season. Most dispointing as the orthotics were meant to help not hinder.

Light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of a fellow Tri-Anglia member who recommended I try the team at Great Blakenham. My initial assessment with Paul, who is incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what he does, involved some observation, physical tests and then running barefoot and with trainers along a 22 metre mat. The mat has a 2m section wich detects the forces applied by your foot as you move over it. The data is transfered onto a computer screen for instant feedback so you know if any changes are working.

In my case it seems I lean a little to the left placing a lot of weight on that leg, I rotate at the pelvis so the right is further forward than the left side, I lead with my right shoulder slightly when I run and I have one leg slightly longer than the other. This all results in under pronation (not rolling the foot inwards enough) on my right foot and over-pronation (rolling the foot inwards too much) on the left foot causing increased pressure points and thus injury risks.

There are lots of other possible contributory factos too; one eye is stronger than other so I turn to use it more, bending and twisting to use a magnifier to read for the past 30 years or so, too many years cycling and perhaps even running with a guide on the left side with a rope between us…

So, I now have some custom made orthotics to help balance things out and reduce the load in the high pressure points identified on the scan. I have to say the results so far have been great. As soon as I put them in my shoes and had a little run I could tell the difference. I felt much more balanced and even better, no pain! I now need to just break them in gently and not over-do things, although it’s tempting just get out there and run!!

I am really pleased to say that the Foot Function Centre have joined Tri Team Dawson as one of our valued sponsors which is fantastic news! Over the next few months I’m really looking forward to continuing the work started with Paul with the aim of getting me back into full running shape and getting quicker for next season!

I will let you know how I get on.


2 thoughts on “The Foot Function Centre

    1. iain Post author

      Hi there,

      I am lucky in the sense that the Foot Function are one of my sponsors and provide a lot of great support!

      I believe that an assessment would cost about £60 depending on the type of assessment needed – walking or running related etc.

      Orthotics can range from about £40 for an off-the-shelf job to maybe as much as £140 for something totally customised depending on what’s needed.

      Personally, I have found using orthotics very helpful in solving a number of injury problems/niggles.

      Hope that helps


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