SOUTH KINGSTOWN – More than 3,000 miles away in London, a U.S. Olympian will use a product made right here in Wakefield when she runs the Olympic marathon.
Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic runner and bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will use a custom-made shoe insert created by Bert Reid at the aptly named Olympic Physical Therapy.
Bert Reid, co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy, who has his doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in foot and ankle biomechanics, helped Flanagan, who suffered from foot pain following a surgery. Enduring the pain, she trained, ran and medaled in Beijing, but this time around, Reid guarantees that Flanagan will run pain-free.
“Nobody has more guts, I can’t wait to watch her in the marathon,” Reid said of Flanagan, who is a 31-year-old native of Marblehead, Mass. “She’s a stoic machine.”
Reid began the shoe and orthotic division of Olympic Physical Therapy in 2004. Since then he has helped numerous elite and local athletes to eliminate pain and improve their performance.
He creates the orthoses to foster the flexible and proper foot motion in his patients, which he says will help control pain throughout the leg and back.
“We want the foot to do what the foot should do,” Reid said. “This protects the knee, the hip and the low back.”
Flanagan and her husband Steve Edwards, a former college runner, rave about the orthoses.
“I’m amazed how durable those orthos are,” Edwards wrote in a recent e-mail to Reid. “I think Shalane got four years out of her last pair.”
Elite and local athletes have become aware of Reid’s orthoses, which cost around $300 a pair, mainly through word of mouth. He has patients from around the country including from the University of Virginia, Dallas, Texas, Portland, Ore., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Rhode Island.
Reid not only caters to runners but also helps golfers, including Brad Faxon, a Rhode Island professional golfer, tennis players, baseball players and many other athletes. He has worked with Narragansett High School athletes for 16 years and said more athletes from South Kingstown High School and The Prout School are coming to him for help.
He cites the success of a University of Virginia runner who ran a sub-four minute mile after he came to Reid who helped him recover from a nagging injury.
While Reid may help elite athletes, like Flanagan, who won the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials marathon in Houston and set the event record with a time of 2:25:38, he and the staff at Olympic Physical Therapy are more than willing to help the average Joe.
“We see a high number of top-end athletes, but we spend most our days with moms who want to keep running and stay fit, and also the high school athletes who complain of nagging pain,” said Guerrino Boni, office manager at the Wakefield location. “We start thinking from the ground up.”