Leg length and a lift

Years ago, after running my first ultra – the first of only two 50-mile ultras – I experienced a knot at the base of my spine. As I crossed the finish line ragged and dog-tired, I reached to put my hands on my hips. I could feel this “knot” about the size of my fist in length and width and only just sort of puffy in height.  It welted up right where the spine meets the pelvis and to the right side of my spine.



I don’t remember much pain. Maybe a little? Then it went away.

The discovery did, however, lead me into a series of appointments with a chiro. I learned a lot from this chiropractor. The main takeaway was that my right leg is about 1/4 inch shorter than my left. He set me up with a heel lift that was about 1/8 inch thick to sort of meet the gap half way. I could feel a difference in my stride and even a difference while just standing still right away. The pelvis felt just a bit more level. It felt better.

But as the story goes… Time went by… The lift would shift around. In a couple of races or hard runs, I felt it swimming around in my shoe.


So, I stopped wearing it.

Pretty much forgot about it, too, until just recently when I’ve noticed some soreness in the exact same area.

After reading a bit about possible culprits, one thing that stuck out in my research was the significance of leg length discrepancy. Of course, I quickly remembered my old lift. No way I was going to use that thing because it had proven insufficient in the past. Plus, my stride is more geared toward a mid-foot landing, so only lifting the heel lift didn’t make sense.

Then a great idea struck me.
lift1-3Each of my Altra shoes – trust me, I wear them all – comes with an extra insole. The extra insole is considered to strengthen the footbed. I have never actually used these extra insoles. Until now.

The extra insole is just about 1/8 inch thick, more or less. Perfect. I figured trim just the excess from under the toes. I don’t need any lift there but rather under the mid-foot and heel. lift1 Then I’d insert that insole under the other regular insole.

I tell ya, it worked wonders. Feels great and gives that same effect of “leveling out” the pelvis. And the beauty of the wide toe box makes adding extra stuff into one shoe possible. There is still enough room for my foot. lift1-2This was a great discovery and a simple project.

Glad to have some help from my sidekick.
lift1-4 He’s moral support. So are the cats, of course.


How bout you? Legs the same length? Ever switched up your running insoles?

6 thoughts on “Leg length and a lift

    • Thanks! Favorite? That’s a tough one but probably the Torin. I use my Torins the most. I just received the Provision and so far really like them too. They have a similar feel with just a bit more stability up front, under the forefoot. For racing I love the One2, they are really great too. Hope that helps.

  1. I’ve never been to a chiro. I’m both intrigued as I think they’d be able to help in a lot of ways, and terrified because I think there might be a long list of to do’s lol

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