:: home : case studies :
6 ::  H. Crane
One day a gentleman called from Loveland, CO explaining he had difficulty buying shoes for his teenage daughter. He mentioned they would be traveling through Vernal the following week and wished to stop by and talk.

I was unprepared when they came through the door because his fourteen year old daughter was only 32 inches tall. Oddly enough, even though I had never had an association with a "little person," earlier that week we had watched a documentary about "little people."

Holli was starting high school with only a pair of sandals that she had been wearing for four years. The sandal maker had disappeared; and with all her heart, she wanted a pair of tennis shoes. In addition to being a 4.0 student, Holli was a total delight -- a wonderful person to be around.

It was a complex problem. Holli had been born with club feet in addition to a number of other issues. Her feet were boxed shaped--almost as wide as they were long. But the real issue was hallux varum: instead of pointing forward, her big toes point towards the mid-line of her body.
As she walked, she rolled from the back edge of the toe to the front edge. Fitting a shoe to such a foot was going to be a challenge as her family knew all too well.

What they didn't know is that there were some bio-mechanical issues involved as well. Holli, who suffered from pain and cramping in her feet and legs after a busy day at school, would often ask her father to massage them.

Her feet exhibited extreme pronation and we found that she has about a 5/8" leg -- length discrepancy.
Holli is a toe walker on the right, and everyone had assumed it was due to a contracture residual to previous surgery. In actuality, the toe walking was a compensation for a short leg.

When you are only 32" tall, such a discrepancy is very significant. There was also a gait issue, as Holli compensated for the excessive pronation, her steps became apropolsive.

I told the family that if they would stay in town an additional two or three days, I would clear my schedule and we would cast the feet to make anatomical lasts. From the lasts, we could both make orthotics and shape the shoes. Then we would go to town and buy some tennis shoes which we would tear down and resize for her feet. Built into the shoes would be the 5/8" correction for the leg--length discrepancy, I would also create rocker bottom soles to improve her stride.

The family was agreeable so we went to work. While I made lasts, orthotics, and remade shoes, the family looked at dinosaur fossils at the quarry and museum.

Then came the moment of truth her new shoes were on her feet and her parent's emotions were apparent. Her mother exclaimed, "They really look much better than I had expected!" I thought "Thanks a lot!" Since that time, I have also made replacements for her old sandals.
:: next case study
::  Home   ::  The Merrell Story   ::  Our Specialty  ::   Our Approach  ::   Image Galleries  ::   Case Studies  ::