Ray Johnson was nearly home bound due to inability to walk in comfort.
I noticed Ray having a bit of trouble walking as he tried to maneuver his way into my neighbor’s house where he was caring for my friend’s pets while her and her husband are out of town. “Ray, how you doing today?” I ask. Ray replied, “Oh not too bad, how bout yourself?” I knew he wasn’t being completely truthful with me because I could tell he was having trouble walking and was using a cane. After a few casual words in conversation I broke the ice with, “Ray, can I ask you a question?” He replied, “Sure.” I began with, “Do your knees hurt?” He answered, “Yes, but I’ve had allot of surgeries and problems, and I have arthritis and there’s not much they can do for me anymore.” “But Ray, I noticed your a bit bow legged and your shoes are worn to the outside pretty severely. I can tell your shoes have seen better days and your soles are worn down to where they are making you walk even more bow legged and out of balance, that alone will make your knees worse and may even cause back pain, or your entire body to hurt.” I told him. I then began to tell him about my concern for his well being, and invited him to my store. He agreed to let me see what I could do to help him and we continued our conversation.
He met me a bit later at my store The Walkezstore. I assessed his feet and knees by simply watching him walk and asking him a few questions. He told me he can’t walk without his shoes very well at all, that his feet hurt even worse when he doesn’t have shoes on. I then took his shoes off to take measurements. I noticed he was wearing a foam over the counter arch support that was actually doing more damage than good, because it was making him walk to far to the outside of his feet. Measuring his toe length, his arch length, and then his width, I discovered he had a very hard to fit foot size. Most footwear today is only made in medium widths, and poor Ray measured a 12A.
An A width is narrow and narrows are not that easy to find. I realized his problems were probably rooted in ill-fitting footwear. He said he’s always worn a 10.5 or 11B. This is common for a person with a narrow foot. They tend to go to a smaller shoe size than what they’re true arch length measures, because the smaller shoe fits the width of their foot better. However the arch length is compromised and that alone will throw off one’s gait.
So I ask him if it would be ok with him if she tried to help him by using his existing shoes and put a little different kind of support in them. He agreed to my request. I removed the OTC arch supports and told him not to use them again. Laying an adjustment in his shoes known to the pedorthic industry as a lateral heel wedge, and placing a metatarsal bar inside to support his transverse arch, (that’s the arch of your foot that runs from the 1st metatarsal joint to the 5th metatarsal joint), he was a bit skeptical. She then put them back on his feet. Even though the heels and soles of his shoes were very worn down, he could tell a difference the minute he stood up to walk. He liked it!
We then talked about possibly getting him a new pair of shoes not only because his were worn out, they were also not properly fitting him. We searched the web shoe store Endless.com and found 7 pairs of shoes he liked and wanted to try. I ordered all 7 pair for him and said I would call him when they get there in a few days. He thanked me and went on his way.
Approximately 1 hour later, he stopped back by the store. He was amazed at how much better his feet and knees felt. He was so surprised to find such instant relief. I explained how the OTC insoles were actually adding insult to injury due to the improper arch fit and placement for his particular feet, and how his too short worn down shoes were even a bigger problem. “When your heels get worn down you don’t have a solid platform to walk on anymore because of the wear. The shoe won’t sit level on the floor anymore. And as for the foam OTC arch support, well do you build a foundation out of foam? No, you use a solid and strong material like concrete block.” I educated him a bit more. “And as for your shoe size, that’s like putting too small a tires on your truck.” I added.
He definitely understood, he could feel the difference! So, Ray is waiting on 7 pair of shoes to come in so he can pick the one that feels the best. That’s not always the most expensive pair because sometimes you just get lucky because the shoe you’ve picked is being discontinued so it’s on sale. Ray promised to follow my lead and go by feel and not price. He is looking forward to a new pair of shoes because the ones he is wearing now are at least 13 years old he said and he wears them all the time.
So stay tuned for the outcome of this little intervention. Roy has agreed to be interviewed on my next blog.
I just have a strong desire to help any one and every one be more comfortable throughout their day. God willing. The key is, you have to want the help and be willing to do what needs to be done to get complete help.
Until we meet again.