I’ve been hearing a lot about barefoot running and Vibram “five finger” shoes in my clinic. All sorts of people are eating Paleo diets and going retro with barefoot running. I usually wait for fads to pass and see what remains after the dust settles. This time, an elite athlete friend of mine with many similar orthopedic issues to my own was raving about how his back pain had gone away since he started using these shoes. That got my attention. I started asking around and several of my doctors and physical therapists were also raving about them…I decided to give them a try.
I’ve had issues with my right hip for a decade ever since I used to train in the Korean martial arts– lots of high kicks and aggressive stretching. I’ve managed it over the years giving myself acupuncture and doing yoga and Qi Gong. That being said, running has always sucked for me- hip pain, back pain and stiffness that works its way up until I feel like an old man. I’ve tried all kinds of shoes and had basically given up on running. After all, there are lots of ways to get exercise.
I broke in the shoes for a few days around the house (recommended for your feet to adjust) and then went on a hike…no problems…sore feet. Two days ago I took the dog on a walk and and decided to open it up a bit. I ran like a champ- hadn’t felt like that in ten years! No pain, no stiffness, actually felt all the acupoints on my feet activated. I felt invigorated. The next day? Yeah the soles of my feet were sore but that was it.
Today I decided to leave the slow dog behind and see what would happen if I let loose. I’m very impressed so far. I ran on very rocky terrain (West Texas) for four miles straight and got faster and lighter into the run. Feet are still sore but much less after this run. I can see my arches rising and feet getting stronger. There is definitely something to this and I’ll keep playing with it. Give me a few months to really put in some miles and I’ll report back but, so far….two thumbs up for the caveman theory!