WILTON, Conn. – Arlo Tarr at the Outdoor Sports Center in Wilton can predict what injury might lie ahead for runners. Better yet, he can do something to prevent it.
Tarr joined the company last year as part of the footwear team. The Pennsylvania native brings with him experience as a pedorthist. He evaluates the biomechanics of runners, and is trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy. Runners who have lower leg injuries, or want to prevent them, can benefit from Tarr’s expertise.
“I look at the foot and say you have pressure here, we need to shift it to offload the pressure,’’ Tarr said. “I first determine if I’m dealing with a flexible or rigid foot. It can vary from foot to foot. I use footbeds like Superfeet to give the foot what it’s lacking.”
Even runners who don't experience discomfort can benefit from Tarr’s knowledge. “Every time I sit down and look, I can tell where you’ll have problems later in life,’’ he said. “Some people are blessed with great structure. I can tell them, though, that this will get sore or you’ll lose range of motion in a particular area. I’m like the Sherlock Holmes of feet.”
Tarr’s experience is a good example. As a high school wrestler in Pennsylvania, his running was limited by knee problems. He started working at a sports store in State College, Pa., and began fitting high school track teams. A colleague suggested some changes in his shoes, and Tarr built up to running 50 miles per week.
Tarr then moved to a outdoor store in North Carolina, and took an intensive class to become a pedorthist. “I thought I knew a lot,’’ he said. “I came out of there and it was like speaking a different language.”
Tarr’s wife, Kate, took a position as the clothing buyer at Outdoor Sports Center last summer. While she interviewed for that position, she also encouraged the store to consider her husband. He was hired as well. Now, the family has settled in the area with their 21-month-old daughter. Business is picking up in spring as runners, hikers and walkers are eager to get outside. Tarr believes he can help people ward off injuries before they get started.
“You can solve a lot of problems with the correct footwear,’’ Tarr said. “I’ll look at your foot and get you going again. A guy came in last year and said he couldn’t run because of his knees, and that he was just going to walk. Now he’s running half marathons. I see it happen all the time. It’s all about understanding what the foot is doing.”