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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Today was was far less stressful than yesterday, which is a big benefit. I headed over to Merrell for my appointment at 10. We started with an initial consultation where we discussed what happened and when. Then we proceeded to make an imprint of my feet, as well as tracings with pressure pad (I’m making terms up here) indication, measurements, and the like.

After this we spent about an hour digging through the attic, barn, and surrounding area for lasts that were close to my feet, eventually finding a pair that would work (12E bootmaking lasts). There were thousands of lasts all over the place; apparently he’s picked up numerous ones over the years, including two semis full that are mostly used up and gone now. Wow.

Anyhow, he wrapped the last in tape to start making a fitter’s model for the boots, and then the plaster had sufficiently set enough to mold the orthotics. Once the orthotics were made, my leg length discrepancy was measured, and a strange thing happened: Randy told me he didn’t need to make me custom boots; I could get by with custom orthotics and off the shelf footwear.

Woah. For those that haven’t known me for a decade, you don’t realize how big of a deal this is. I may be able to wear normal shoes again.

He sent me into town to buy a pair of boots, they ended up being a pair of Merrells, only because the selection was poor and they fit better than the other options. He raised an eyebrow when he saw them, but agreed with my reasoning. With the orthotics in, they are quite uncomfortable, but I’m hopeful. He gave me the assignment to go hiking for the next few days, and then come back Thursday to refine the orthotics. I’m going to get another orthotic made, with a normal pair of shoes, and then that’ll be that. He didn’t try to pressure me into buying $1500 boots, when this would do the job.

It’s sort of refreshing to work with somebody who a) doesn’t want to charge me money when he doesn’t need to b) genuinely enjoys what they do c) knows what they’re doing d) understands things to a far greater depth than most people who do the same sort of thing with which I’ve worked.

In specific what was interesting was discovering some things about my leg length discrepancy today. While “an inch” is about the correct lift, it’s not the only way to solve the problem. Intrinsic, I only have about half an inch skeletally different, the additional half inch is created by excess pronation. Freakishly (seriously, this apparently never happens), my body flattened my foot laterally under pronation, amplifying (rather than reducing) the discrepancy. Thus by countering the effects of the pronation, the lift required to fix the discrepancy is much smaller. In the same way that the original doctor dug through simple means to figure out that I had the discrepancy, today’s visit in very simple terms explained a lot more about what was going on.

Anyway, probably way too much information about my medical conditions already, but being the point of this visit, I’m sort of pleased that things didn’t work out the way I’d expected. And excited.