“Primary care providers see a ton of people with foot pain, and they need to be able to do something to just help them get more comfortable,” said Anna Ruelle, DPM, a podiatry specialist with Weeks Medical Center in Keene. She practiced in Keene for many years before moving to northern New Hampshire, and during that time, she and Ted McGreer, owner of Ted’s Shoe and Sport on Main Street discussed the widespread need for an innovative insole design.
“What we found was that we had limited products that were over-the-counter to help people with things like plantar fasciitis and arthritis,” Ruelle said, noting that although effective, prescription or custom-made inserts can be extremely expensive. She and McGreer both imagined a more reasonable option that might resolve foot and alignment issues for a significant number of the people they were encountering.
McGreer took this concept and decided to run with it, collaborating with Jonathan Koops of Kneed Footwear, a maker who partners with brick-and-mortar retailers to provide insoles that help relieve foot pain. Together, they began to experiment with possibilities, testing out mold shapes and calling on Ruelle’s expertise to hone the design.
“We finally came up with a shape that would work for about 85 to 90 percent of foot shapes,” McGreer said. The resulting orthotic, called TEDS2Run Footbeds, have helped many address painful foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma.
Koops credits the product’s effective design to the exceptional communication he has with McGreer. “It is rare that a couple of weeks go by that we don’t find ourselves deep in conversation about foot-related health and what we can do to improve it,” he said.
Most recently, the two zeroed in on a new need they had seen emerging.
“We realized there are a lot of people that need maybe a little bit more support under their arch,” McGreer said. Due to New Hampshire’s significant aging population, he had noticed a high number of customers experiencing arthritic conditions, which, in turn, affects alignment of the ankles, knees and hips. “Think about a tripod. If that tripod is collapsing over, it’s not supporting the camera or the weight.”
He and Koops decided it was time to craft a new footbed in response. “We wanted to make it a little more supportive but also a prescription-strength insole that medical professionals could prescribe,” McGreer said.
After thousands of insole fittings and extensive consultations with experts in the medical community, the newly-released TEDSRX Footbeds serve just that purpose: combining the original adaptive arch support, optimal heel cradle, flexible structure and high performance Poron® Cushioning, with an all-new Fibro Firm arch support band.
“It’s a plate, a non-woven fiber, that gives the foot 30 percent more rigidity,” McGreer said. He suggested imagining a three-mile walk on the beach… “Would you walk on the soft sand up top or the firm sand by the water? Probably the firm sand because it’s easier.”
Although there are various insole options on the market, most consist of gels or other squishy materials.
“While they are pretty comfortable in certain situations … it really replicates walking on the soft sand,” McGreer said, noting this doesn’t benefit a person’s alignment. “Bringing the ground up to your foot is the key, and that’s what this device does.”
So far, Ruelle has been seeing positive results. “I’ve been sending my patients in, and the initial reports are good.” The new footbeds have enhanced arch support and are specially designed to “hug the heel.”
“These would be something that someone who is in good health, without any significant underlying conditions, could try as a reasonable self-care method of relieving arch pain,” she said, adding that she appreciates having this new resource for patients and applauded McGreer’s commitment to proper shoe fit, foot care and alignment.
“I’ve always been focused on trying to create a long-term relationship with our customers and our community,” McGreer said. His hope is that this latest development will help those in the Monadnock region continue to live a little healthier.