Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Pit Bulls of Baskerville

I wrote this piece as a question and answer column in the Tri-Valley Frontrunners club newsletter a few years back. It is a parable for a basic injury prevent concept. So the readers here can understand some inside information, valley girls is the self proclaimed knickname by the female members of the club. Also, Art Doine and Bobby Doyle were names of club members.

Hipper Chick: I have this pain in my hip. It started about six weeks ago and is so bad I cannot run anymore.

First it is Hip Chick. Now it's Hipper Chick. What is is about these valley girls and their fixation on hips. I'm lucky Linda Tripp didn't attend the meeting or I'd be answering Kenneth Starr's questions instead of yours. “Dr. Bob, were you involved with intimate conversation with a valley girl about her hip?” “No, I was not. She was having intimate conversation with me. Define conversation. Define hip!” Well, so much for impeachment. Let's get back to the fruit salad days of impeared hips.From grand jury interrogation of my own, I have deduced that this problem started right after christmas. Santa must have thought you were a naughty girl 'cause he left you a pair of Nike Lumpocoal Max. I also know the pain is located at the origin of the quadriceps muscles, a rare injury for runners. Combine new shoes with odd injury and I'd start my mystery solving with shoes. Here's why. New shoes can perpetrate the crime with unwanted model changes (just when you find a model you like....poof... it disappears), untested gimick features (like the arch cut-out that did my hamstring in last August), assembly line defects, and material variation. Assembly line defects are self explanatory. The untested gimicks subject is longer and juicier than the Starr Report. So for brevity's sake we'll focus upon material variation. To help us find out what is making your quad bay at the moon, we will go way back to another time and across the big pond to another place. I call upon mystery writer of purple past to help us, Sir Arthur Doine-an' (Bobby) Doyle.Enter, Sherlock Shoes! "By jove, Baby Watson, check out this EVA midsole I found in the moors." "It's without sole, sir," replied BW. "That's because I took it off, cheesecake head. What else do you see?" quizzed Sherlock. "It's damp from the moors, more or less," said BW. "No it is the hardness of the midsole. It differs from spot to spot. On the durometer scale it is 40 here and one inch away it is 36 and ... here right next to that spot it is 44!Darn that Dr. Morinjuriarity!" proclaimed Sherlock shoes. "Yeahand darn his dog, too!" hounds Baby Watson as he scrapes pitbull pasture patty off of his waffle trainers. Congratulations Sherlock, you've solved the mystery. We always assume the midsole and its pieces are of the same hardness as the specifications advertise it to be. In fact the industry considers a ten percent variation in EVA durometer to be acceptable. That's quite alot when you consider that midsole gimmicks to change foot function usually differ by no more (moor?) than ten durometer units. Now consider that there is no effective way for the companies to screen out even larger variations in EVA durometer other than random material testing. Therefore, some shoes make it to the market with subtle and invisible defects that interfere with normal foot function.So, now that we have a shoe-in as our suspect, how do we confirm his guilt. As Sherlock would say, elementary, my dear Watson. Switch back to an oldie but goodie. A pair of shoes you used successfully before the injury but not so worn out that it takes Sherlock's magnifying glass to find some tread on your corpse of a shoe. I know it is London rainwater past the dam but it is best to retire a pair of successful shoes half way through its useful life and keep them in your closet. If nefarious Dr Moreinjuriarity crops up, pull your Sherlock shoes out of the closet and wear them a week or two. If there is significant improvement or resolution, then your barking up the right tree. It is one great way to remove one variable from the injury equation.Hopefully, the mystery will be solved. Make sure you put your “Sherlocks” back in the closet where you can find them. For the fog and full moons of mystery will return. With all the shoe problems out there, Dr M and his demonish dog will have many an opportunity to howl in your backyard.

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