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A meeting with Dr. Paul Copeskey is not an appointment. It is an experience. Self-described as “the absent-minded professor,” he is a complex character full of charisma and life energy.
Lovingly called Dr. Paul by most of his patients, once you meet him, you are treated like an old friend and cared for like family. With his meetings (yesterday it was with a top orthopedic doctor from UCLA) to public speaking engagements, to working with the USA National Track team, he is a man with an overflowing schedule; yet working directly with his patients is still his top priority. His passion is giving athletes and non-athletes alike the experience of wearing his custom made orthotics and seeing for themselves the difference they can make. Shin splints, knee pain, back pain and even headaches all become distant memories after meeting Dr. Paul.
Many people hear the word orthotics and mistakenly think they are just drop in shoe supports for senior citizens or those with specific foot problems. Although they do correct many problems and relieve pain, Dr. Paul has also discovered the whole body benefits of improving foot stability and leg length equality, as well as the edge they can give an athlete. These custom made correction devices improve the function of the entire foot and create a more symmetrical and efficient walking and running stride. In an athlete’s life, this is even more crucial due to the vertical forces which are applied to the ground with each foot strike.
To label Dr. Paul a chiropractor would be as inadequate as calling Einstein a scientist. Although his medical background did begin as a Doctor of Chiropractic, he has grown this profession into a complex study of enhancing athletes’ abilities and preventing sports injuries. He has combined the specialties of non-surgical podiatry and chiropractic to provide his clients with a simple solution to injury and pain prevention as well as treatment. Although Dr. Paul is neither boastful nor arrogant, he is confident in the product that he has spent 30 years perfecting. He does not hesitate to say that his orthotics are “by far the best that I have ever seen.”
It was early in Dr. Paul’s career when he was working with athletes who were training seven hours a day to compete in Ironman Triathlons, that he had his “AH HA” moment. Each day he would perform chiropractic manipulations on his athletes only to have them return the next day with the same ailments and correct them again, temporarily. Even though the practice of chiropractic is founded on the principle of recurring office visits, Dr. Paul did not like the feeling of thinking he had “fixed” something only to have it “broken” again the next day.
As with many great discoveries, the solution to this seemingly complex problem turned out to be surprisingly simple. According to Dr. Paul, “It is our bodies’ natural abnormalities that cause biomechanical imbalances.” This is a fancy way to say most people are not naturally symmetrical. On average, most of us have about 1/4” difference in our leg length, which causes “unevenness” within our skeletal framework. It may not seem like enough to make a difference, but Dr. Paul has spent his career proving it does and showing patients over and over the difference 1/4” can make. Add to this the fact that over time, the arches in our feet flatten out, and you have the ingredients for lifelong pain and discomfort. It would be similar to having different size tires on a car and wondering why it is not riding smoothly and why one tire is wearing out more quickly than the others. Without symmetry in our body, one knee, hip or other body part may give us constant irritation or wear out more quickly than the other.
Once Dr. Paul was able to identify the problem, he set about to create a solution through custom-made orthotics. He has not only discovered the solution, but perfected it. Custom-made orthotics raise dropped arches and align the feet properly under the knees and hips. By putting the body in the right alignment, it can perform at the optimal level, heal itself and we can “get more out of what we have.” Having good foundational support at the foot level is like having a strong, even foundation under a house or building. Without it, the framework cannot support the structure as it is meant to be. Understanding this concept was my “AH HA” moment.
One of the patients, who would call Dr. Paul a “life saver” in very literal terms, is his friend and neighbor, Raine Maida. Raine is a 40-year-old Canadian rock star and father of three young sons, who suffered from degenerative disks causing debilitating pain in his back.
The pain from these disks resulted in years of doctor visits with few improvements. His condition caused such agony. He could not even play with his young sons without wincing at the smallest of movements. At the chance meeting of Dr. Paul in his driveway, Raine was a depressed and desperate 34-year-old who walked like he was 90. He had resorted to epidurals every six weeks and they were becoming less and less effective. He was losing hope of ever living a normal life. With his history of pain, doctor visits and unfulfilled promises of health, Raine was naturally reluctant to believe that something as simple as orthotics could offer even a tiny amount of improvement to his condition. At the time, even Dr. Paul did not dare to tell him that full, pain-free mobility may be in his future.
Raine’s immediate camaraderie for his new neighbor led him to agree to give it a try, even though he held onto little hope that he could be helped. It was a simple decision that turned out to be life-changing.
“After day three, I have been virtually pain free for six years. Dr. Paul literally saved my life. It is still unbelievable - even to me!”
Thanks largely to word of mouth and secondarily to the internet, Dr. Paul is known and beloved worldwide. He has treated patients who have flown in to see him from all over the world including his most recent visitor from Madagascar. He has been called “an angel,” a “life-saver” and “a miracle worker,” but Dr. Paul shakes his head at all of these names. “I have a passion to solve my patient’s pain so they don’t need to see me anymore.” It is a simple explanation to his tireless work and a philosophy not often heard or practiced in the medical community.
Dr. Paul maintains offices in San Diego and Santa Monica. For more information go to www.rundocrun.com
Dr. Paul’s 3 Exercises for a Strong Core
Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched out at 10 and 2 (like Superman). Raise chest, arms and legs about 5-6 inches off the ground (or as far as you comfortably can). Hold for 1 second and relax. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Dr. Paul’s Crunch on the Exercise Ball
Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor. Let the ball roll back slowly and lie back until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Contract your abdominals raising your torso a little past horizontal then lower back to starting position. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Hamstring Raises on the Exercise Ball
Lie down and place both feet on the ball, knees bent. Keeping abs tight, squeeze butt and hamstrings to lift butt off the floor. Slowly roll the ball away from you and then slowly roll the ball back. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.