Recognized as “the world’s toughest footrace”, the annual event in Death Valley, California pits runners against themselves and the elements for 135 grueling miles.
“I’ve put in close to 2,000 miles a year on pavement, asphalt or concrete, pounding and pounding and pounding.” McKinney explains. “My feet hit the ground over 200,000 times in a 40-hour span.
Before he took on his first ultra marathon over 10 years ago, Frank’s orthopedic surgeon recommended that he visit with Dr. Marc B. Klein, a Podiatrist in Boca Raton.
As you can imagine, when you run that kind of distance, you’re going to have issues no matter who you are or what you’re made of.
Frank notes, “I started having some issues with my hips and knees. Dr. Klein is a sports-minded podiatrist, and that’s what I wanted.”
Foot Orthotics To The Rescue
To help protect Frank’s feet and joints from damage and pain during training and racing, Dr. Klein recommended specialized orthotics.
“Abnormal functioning of the foot affects the shins, the knees and the lower back,” he explains. “The solution is to keep the foot in its proper position.”
The Icon full-contact orthotic, which is a customized device worn in the shoe, is both highly comfortable and helpful from a biomechanics standpoint.
“Full-contact means that when you hold the orthotic up to the foot, even when not bearing weight, it matches the foot exactly.” describes Dr. Klein.
“There are two keys to this orthotic: ONE – it makes full contact, and TWO, it’s strong enough to support your body weight. Other orthotics will have one or the other but not both of these features.”
Dr. Klein adds that matching the proper running shoe with the patient’s foot structure is extremely important in the battle to prevent pain from recurring, or even occurring in the first place.
“At some point everyone’s feet are going to collapse to some degree.” he cautions. “It’s a matter of time, age, weight, and gravity.”
An Elite Athlete’s Experience With Foot Orthotics
The use of orthotics has kept Frank’s feet healthy through thousands of miles of training and racing. “The use of the orthotics has been a very important factor in me being able to compete at a pretty high level at my age.” says McKinney, “and in a sport that’s very, very demanding.”
“Because of my orthotics and the treatment I received from Dr. Klein, in addition to the tremendous amount of training and other things that I bring to my hobby. I was able to see the Badwater finish line six times.”
Furthermore, Dr. Klein has a positive and supportive attitude toward his patients. Frank assures, “You’re out there and you’re running 100 miles. The average doctor is going to tell you, “Stop, I can’t help you. Don’t do that. That’s bad for your body. You’re going to hurt yourself.”
Well, that’s not the answer you will hear from Dr. Klein.
“He took this real can-do approach: ‘We’re going to keep you on the road, Frank. We’re going to keep you running…’ That’s the kind of attitude you want from a doctor.”
“If Dr. Klein can see me to the finish of the Badwater 135-mile Ultramarathon six times, Frank Adds, “I’m sure he can see you from your car to the Publix checkout counter.”