I was very proactive about getting it better. Doing my research online and with every health professional I could. While in China, I was talking to a sports chiropractor for the USOC and he recommended orthotics. I had never worn orthotics but thought I would give it a shot since I was missing the most opportune time to run in Colorado (the Fall is amazing for trail running!).
So, I got fitted for the orthotics and wore them for about 4 weeks. Minimal running. Then a few weeks ago I went out for a run and forgot to put my orthotics in my trail shoes. I have all of the insoles pulled out of every shoe I own and my closet looks (and smells), let's just say...interesting! Anyway, I go for my run and when I get back and was taking off my shoes, I realized that I didn't have the orthotics in...but this is where it gets interesting. My achilles and lower leg felt better than post-run than it had with wearing the orthotics.
Since then, I have continued with this "oops" and turned it into an experiment. No orthotics in my daily routine or my runs and my findings in the past few weeks have been very positive.
My early conclusions:
1. I am not commuting 2.5 hours in my car each day any longer and I believe this has improved my flexibility in my lower leg.
2. I am not sitting behind a desk all day long any more which is helping. I am much more mobile during the day working for myself.
3. I have more time to give my body the attention it needs (daily exercise, stretching, etc.).
So, are orthotics merely bandaids for a larger injury state? I think so and believe that my living experiment is proving this...