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Old 04-13-2012, 08:21 AM   #1
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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Footwear on the mat

Hello!

Has anyone found a type of shoe/pad they can wear on the mat which is reasonably acceptable? I have been having severe hip problems for the past couple of years which has been keeping me off the mat more than a tiny bit, and it looks like a large part of the problem has to do with different leg lengths. As such, I now wear an insert in my shoe and it helps quite a bit. I am wondering if anyone has worn a lift on the mat, and if so, how they have gone about it?

While this is not a cure, it might make training possible again so I am willing to give it a go if the CI doesn't mind.

Best, Rachel
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
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Re: Footwear on the mat

You'll need to talk to your instructor(s) but I have seen some accommodations made. I'm not sure how much lift you need, but if you can fit some kind of orthotic into a cotton bottomed tabi, that would probably be the most appropriate solution. I've seen some people who had a similar issue who wore "dojo" shoes that were just running shoes that they never wore anywhere but on the mat. Frankly, I dislike that solution because it's too easy to accidentally injure your training partners and is almost impossible not to damage the training surface. A cotton bottom tabi would look better, not damage the floor and be safer for your partners.

I would also tell you that sometimes those diagnoses are incorrect. I had a pinched nerve in my back that was diagnosed by several PTs and an MD as partially due to different leg lengths. This was causing severe debilitating pain for months and months. I saw a bodyworker who specialized in a similar method to Rolfing and he said they were flat out wrong and that I had a muscular imbalance in quads/hamstrings that was pulling one side of my pelvis down much more than the other side. This was putting almost a 1" twist in my hips. Since the doctors were measuring the length of my legs from the top of my pelvic bone (in the front) but not looking at the overall shape of the hips, they were not correct in their assessment. I saw him for two sessions and combined that with two visits to a very good acupuncturist (to help release the muscles that were causing the imbalance) and my pain went away and has not returned. I don't want to sound like I'm second guessing your doctors, but you might look into some other options if you haven't already.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
You'll need to talk to your instructor(s) but I have seen some accommodations made. I'm not sure how much lift you need, but if you can fit some kind of orthotic into a cotton bottomed tabi, that would probably be the most appropriate solution. I've seen some people who had a similar issue who wore "dojo" shoes that were just running shoes that they never wore anywhere but on the mat. Frankly, I dislike that solution because it's too easy to accidentally injure your training partners and is almost impossible not to damage the training surface. A cotton bottom tabi would look better, not damage the floor and be safer for your partners.

I would also tell you that sometimes those diagnoses are incorrect. I had a pinched nerve in my back that was diagnosed by several PTs and an MD as partially due to different leg lengths. This was causing severe debilitating pain for months and months. I saw a bodyworker who specialized in a similar method to Rolfing and he said they were flat out wrong and that I had a muscular imbalance in quads/hamstrings that was pulling one side of my pelvis down much more than the other side. This was putting almost a 1" twist in my hips. Since the doctors were measuring the length of my legs from the top of my pelvic bone (in the front) but not looking at the overall shape of the hips, they were not correct in their assessment. I saw him for two sessions and combined that with two visits to a very good acupuncturist (to help release the muscles that were causing the imbalance) and my pain went away and has not returned. I don't want to sound like I'm second guessing your doctors, but you might look into some other options if you haven't already.
+1 from me on the leg-length thing. If I would have gone ahead with the orthotics it would have made the problem worse. After a very simple treatment by my shiatsu practitioner, I was pain-free, my back problems went away, and no doctor has ever measured different leg lengths since.

Also: back pain is horrible.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Re: Footwear on the mat

it is the chiropractor. I have been dealing with this pain for over two years. I have gone to the doctor, PT, and the only thing that has helped has been chiropractic work, but it comes right back after 3-4 days, and it doesn't work for aikido since it involves too much hip action (and that is where the pain is). I had a podiatrist diagnose this years ago because of a bunion (said the bunion formed due to the uneven legs) and I also had scolios as a child, so that may have had some of the cause. At 50, it seems my body has worn down enough that this is really troublesome for me and every time I try aikido I end up in a lot of pain and it just sets me back.

At this point I do nothing but walk for exercise (and not fast enough to merit much of anything). Even an elipitcal kills

The lift is helping while I walk and I've been using it for 2-weeks now. Chiropractor said i hardly needed any adjusting today even though I am having some hip pain (she thought I should keep the lift in and not go barefoot for a couple of weeks).

Have asked the Chief Instructor for opinion. He has been extremely accomodating to my hip issue, but this just is getting to be a massive drag and am looking for solutions.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Footwear on the mat

FWIW... short term yes either tabi or the cheap "kung fu shoes" should accept orthotic or lift very nicely and I've been in dojos where either/both were acceptable.
Long term I agree your scoliosis was likely the underlying cause but it has become a deeply ingrained soft tissue issue that standard chiro treatments cannot solve because the soft tissue just pulls things out of whack again (as you are experiencing). My suggestion would be consulting with a highly trained myofascial or structural integration person. Worth a try.

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Wrestling shoes. I have used them in the past, and they don't harm the mat. It's what they are designed for.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:08 AM   #7
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Thanks Janet, I will look into that
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:15 AM   #8
Alberto_Italiano
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Re: Footwear on the mat

You need to ask your Sensei first, because they can be a bit picky on this matter at times.

Of course, wearing sneakers would be unacceptable (and dangerous too), but there may be valid reason for some other type of legit footwear.

For instance, you can get fungi - although they may say it never happened to anyone there, getting fungis is not a function of an unhealty mat but of subjective predisposition, so objecting that it never happened to anyone does not mean yet that it may not happen to you.
If you had that problem in the past, you can explain you prefer some kind of footwear or even produce a medical paper where it is stated that, since you had fungis in the past, it is advisable that you wear some kind of foot protection.

You could also wear socks, simply, if your Sensei agrees. Although it is argued that with socks you may slip on the mat (which may constitute a relatively valid objection), I wore tennis socks often and I never slipped even once.

An alternative may be swimming pool shoes, they are very fit around your feet and made entirely of flexible material, and slipping wearing those is out of discussion for their purpose is exactly that of avoiding slipping even on wet surfaces (at least as possibile).

We could elaborate further on the topic: for instance, you may need knee pads. I always wear them in the dojo, under my trousers so nobody notices and no one cares. They help enormously for all the times they crack tough on me with nikkyos or when i fall under an ikkyo and yet they fail to make me lay flat immediately (I prefer acting naturally: if you cannot throw or ground me, you won't ground me).

I also wear a tshirt (cannot remember right now the term oh my, ok under the dojo jacket so to say lol) which at times has been found objectable (apparently in some dojos if you don't dress exactly like anyone else they find it not ok, but I have no idea why a tshirt is deemed a problem by some)
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:17 PM   #9
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Chief instructor is fine with this as long as it doesn't scuff the Matt and isn't too obtrusive (dang, wanted fushia footwear). Looking for suggestions of shoes with enough form to hold a lift but enough flexibility to practice. And beige if possible. Open to suggestions.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
John Ruhl
Dojo: Cleveland Aikikai
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Rachel -

You might try gymnastic shoes - also made for mats, not sure if they have enough form for what you're trying to do. Wrestling shoes like Lyle mentioned have a higher ankle, not sure if that's a plus or minus for you... Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:59 PM   #11
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Re: Footwear on the mat

Quote:
John Ruhl wrote: View Post
Rachel -

You might try gymnastic shoes - also made for mats, not sure if they have enough form for what you're trying to do. Wrestling shoes like Lyle mentioned have a higher ankle, not sure if that's a plus or minus for you... Good luck!
thanks John and everyone.
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