The clanging of cowbells, the cheers of supporters, the slapping of rubber against pavement as one by one runners crossed the finish line, exhausted but exhilarated, triumphant and often emotional — these are just a few of the sights and sounds from this weekend’s Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. The mercury surged to 80 and the sun was unrelenting, but the air hummed with excitement. Click on the images below to enjoy the short videos.
Think back pain only affects the middle aged and up? Think again. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) found almost half of 16-24 year olds are living with neck/back pain. This is a worrisome trend, one that is linked to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, much of it work related. What can we do to combat it?
For folks of any age…
- Sit up straight while working, web surfing, reading, gaming;
- Adjust your screen to healthy position;
- Take breaks from sitting every 20-30 minutes.
Consider custom-made orthotics for help with back and neck pain; the research shows they’re effective. For workers who stand for long periods of time, orthotics can also help by reducing associated symptoms (leg swelling, tingling, low back pain).
Read the whole article BCA here.
Nine days and counting until the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon! We’re pleased to introduce Laura, one of our most enthusiastic marathon volunteers. Laura helps man the Mill Mountain aid station where runners refuel with water and snacks around mile 12.
Name: Laura Ash
Years with Foot Levelers: 17
Role at Foot Levelers: “Layout Technician. When 3D foot scans or foam casting kits arrive [with foot impressions from patients], I look at the image and what the doctor says, and I design the orthotics,” based on Foot Levelers’ proprietary method.
Role at the Blue Ridge Marathon: “I hand out the water and snacks on top of Mill Mountain and I’m a cheerleader.”
What made you decide to volunteer? “The very first year I volunteered for the Workout for Payout points” [credits that Foot Levelers offers employees toward free health insurance, days off, and other goodies, earned by eating healthy, exercising, and volunteering]. “But once I got up there to Mill Mountain, I got caught up!
It’s amazing to me: watching that first wave of runners; they’re like a wave of gazelles. Then the people with physical challenges come—and it’s so inspiring…Last year there was a gentleman in a wheelchair; he had no use of his legs, he was doing it all with his arms…
All your life from this high you hear, ‘you can do whatever you put your mind to.’ Some of these runners are disabled, some of them are not so young–they’re older than I am! So seeing them out there reminds you that ‘yes, you really can do whatever you put your mind to.’ It brings that to life.”
How do you feel about Foot Levelers’ involvement in the marathon? “It makes me proud to be part of Foot Levelers, because the marathon brings so much to Roanoke, and we’re giving back to a community that has given so much to us. We’re also showing people how our orthotics can help, whether you’re a professional athlete or just running around the block for fun.”
What are your favorite orthotics? “I like the InMotion… I have them in the shoes I’m wearing right now. I’ll be wearing them on race day too!”
It’s in less than 2 weeks: Runners from all over the world descend upon Foot Levelers’ hometown of Roanoke, Virginia for The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. With over 7,430′ of elevation change through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, there’s a reason it’s called America’s Toughest Road Marathon.
We’ll be spotlighting a few of our company’s runners and volunteers as the event draws near. So without further adieu, meet Brandon…
Name: Brandon Harmon
Years with Foot Levelers: 7
Role: Associate Hardware Technician (“I make sure all our 3D BodyView systems are up-to-date with software and ready to use!”)
Number of marathons run: “This is my second marathon—I did the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon last year—so it’s my second running event, ever!”
Training schedule: 3x weekly runs which culminate into 1 long weekend run. “I started with 1 mile 3 times a week, which added up to a 3 mile run on the weekend. I try to build by 2-4 miles every week. This week I’ll run 22.”
What made you decide to participate? “It was more on a whim than anything. Last year other people were doing it, so I figured I’d give it a shot too. I wasn’t concerned about my time, just about finishing.” (He finished). “I train in the Foot Levelers’ gym or when the weather’s nice I run outside. The company has been really supportive about my participation. People like Steve Stone [VP of Operations at Foot Levelers, who is also running] have also been very helpful and encouraging.”
And how was it? “Before I was a little nervous, but I just knew I had to finish. After I was dead tired. My legs were like lead. It’s really tough on your body. I did very little training last year—I had only run up to 8 miles before doing the whole 26 mile marathon—but I’m not making that mistake this year!”
How are you feeling about this year? “I’m feeling good. I think my time will be much better this year. My InMotion orthotics help me run and train at my best!”
Warm weather has arrived, and inevitably you’ve kicked off your winter boots in favor of sandals and flip-flops. But choose your footwear carefully. Flat-as-a-board summer sandals and traditional flip-fops can cause serious harm to your feet and the kinetic chain, as research shows.
Consider this: the average American takes 5,117 steps a day (though really, we should be taking more, between 7,000 and 10,000 steps according to experts—but that’s another post for another time). With each step, improper footwear can reinforce (and sometimes cause) degenerative changes in the muscles, joints and connective tissues of the feet. With the body’s foundation compromised, joint movement, circulation and proprioceptive input throughout the entire body may suffer.
Five thousand one-hundred and seventeen steps a day—more if you’re active—reinforces these problems every time your foot hits the ground. Step after step, day after day… after day after day after day….It should come as no surprise that dysfunctional feet can lead to chronic pain and problems throughout the body, especially in later life. (And guess what? Your feet may not even hurt, which is why it’s important that your healthcare professional assess them).
High-quality, supportive footwear, ideally with support for all three of the foot’s arches, gives the body a healthy, solid foundation that is less likely to experience problems like the ones mentioned above. Wearing custom orthotics in every pair of shoes goes a long way to give you the support you need, as can orthotic footwear and orthotic sandals. We recently introduced the Seabreeze and Midnight Breeze custom orthotic flip-flops, which offer all the fashion and comfort of regular flip-flops, but with healthy 3 arch support. Your healthcare professional can create a custom mold or scan of your feet from which we’ll create a flip-flop or sandal designed specifically for you. Want to find a Doc in your area who works with us? Click here.
P.S.! Coming soon, a custom orthotic flip-flop for men….