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5 ::  L. Merrell
This is my favorite success story -- because I married this lady! As a young girl Lou-Ann loved to run. But, like many women athletes, she began experiencing knee problems. As the years progressed, she got to the point that she would avoid the 100 yard walk to the mailbox if possible. This was before I got serious about dealing with the bio-mechanics of the feet.

In addition to her knee problems, Lou had suffered many years from debilitating headaches. Finally, out of desperation, I had a friend make orthotics for her in hopes that it would help reduce her neck and head pain. (Not such a far fetched idea.)

Although we didn't see improvement with her headaches, her knees were much improved. In time as I began working with pedorthics and orthotics, we did an in-depth evaluation. As you can see in the photo, Lou is very bow legged (tibial verum) and she has a forefoot/rear foot verus deformity, which means that she would be more comfortable walking on the peak of a roof than on a sidewalk. Additionally, she has tibial torsion-an outside twist between the knee and the ankle, and excessive pronation, as well as, about a quarter inch leg -- length discrepancy.

Lou-Ann became an expert at blocking out pain. We found that, in addition to knee problems, her feet and ankles were quite painful. She was also developing plantar fasciitis and very significant bunions on both feet. To complicate things further, she had been dealing with posterior tibial tendinitis and iliotibial pain along the outside of the thigh and into the gleut.

From the beginning, her condition improved with the orthotics.

In an continuing effort to decrease pain, we have fabricated increasingly aggressive orthotics for the past ten or more years. Lou is an extreme case. What I make for her now, in technical jargon, are called 20 degree inverted functional orthotics with bi-lateral mortons extensions, bi-lateral metatarsal pads with a left leg length correction. I make the orthotics then tip them to the outside 20 degrees! One look at these orthotics would convince you that no one could walk on them, but her feet and body love it.

Since 1977 I have backpacked the Grand Canyon. Until 2002 Lou hadn't gone with me because she feared she couldn't make it out. That fall, we backpacked to the bottom of The Canyon (Tapeats Creek) and out; and she carried her own pack (about 6000' vertical loss, then 6000' gain, in about 15 miles.) The following spring we went back with friends -- a great outing. The following summer we hiked into the high country here in Utah to visit some lakes built with draft horses by Lou's grandfather and great grandfather in the 1920's. Last day of the trip we packed four miles -- then on a whim decided to go to the trail head which was an additional 13 miles. Seventeen miles, with packs, in one day! Some of which was a very nasty muddy trail. Lou-Ann was carrying a pack on feet that a few years previous had trouble making it without pain 100 yards to the mailbox with no pack. That is why this is one of my favorite success stories.

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