After suffering about three months of increasing post-run pain in my left knee, I finally made it to the orthopedist this week. He diagnosed me with an inflamed medial plica – annoying, but less serious than some other potential problems that exhibit similar symptoms, such as patellofemoral syndrome.
The doctor also observed excessive rearfoot pronation and prescribed a pair of orthotics. Getting those made was not at all what I expected – I’ve never had a prescription filled by a guy named Jerry with a toaster oven and bench grinder, but that’s pretty much the way it went. The whole process seemed rather ad-hoc, given (what I perceive as) the criticality of fit of these things. Jerry heated some closed-cell foam up in the toaster oven, then put the hot foam on top of a couple of thick layers of open-cell foam. I stood on the whole assembly while he pressed the foam against my arch as it cooled. Afterward, he used the bench grinder to bevel the edges so they’d fit in my shoes.
The net effect is that I feel like I’m walking on the edges of my feet, which is what they’re supposed to do. I haven’t yet noticed much of a difference in my knee, but I haven’t tried running on them yet, either. I’ll probably go out for a couple miles later this week and see how it feels.