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Making healthy bodies from the bottom up.

Making Healthy Bodies From The Bottom Up

Some of the most persistent athletic injuries - shin splints, knee and back problems - can also be the hardest to cure. In fact, diagnosing the cause can be time consuming and costly. But Donna Robertson, a certified athletic trainer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has developed a technique to help athletes - foot blueprints.

Originally designed by a Canadian arch support company to measure feet for supports, Robertson adapted the technique of footprinting six years ago to help diagnose athletes at the University Orthopedic Clinic. She developed this system eight years ago while seeking an answer to her own recurring foot problems. On vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, she came across Alzner's Arch Supports. "They had a little chart with different lengths of arches and would make a footprint and use the chart to tell you the size needed," recalls Robertson, a former athletic trainer at the University of Alabama. "I began carrying them at the clinic, doing the prints to measure people's arches. I started seeing the pressure points and tightness in their heels, so I began using the prints as an evaluation technique of injuries."

Another common problem is metatarsal pain from narrow shoes. For instance, standing long periods of time in high heels can lead to tight calves and decreased blood supply. "You start seeing fungus under the nails and white nails, all from a lack of blood supply," she says. "For high impact you need good hind foot control, heel counters and shock absorbancy for the ball of your foot. You also need plenty of width, because bouncing will cause the metatarsal to expand and cramp without enough room. For low-impact, the shoe must control the foot.

"By being aware of your feet, you may be able to save yourself a lot of unnecessary pain and injury," she adds.

Pat Lewis is a freelance writer who lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Title Annotation:Professional Edge; foot blueprints
Author:Lewis, Pat
Publication:American Fitness
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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