Are your feet happy? I wrote an earlier article on Barefoot Running in which i touched on the downside of wearing shoes and of the running and walking style inherent in a shoe-wearing culture.
When your feet are constrained as in shoes, your feet cannot move and your muscles, ligaments and tendons atrophy. This leads to a host of problems in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
The feet in this photo are barefoot healthy feet - happy feet! Compare to your own feet; mine look like Flintstone feet in comparison.
I recommend a transition to barefoot or minimalist footwear and going total barefoot around the house and wherever you can manage it. If you have to wear shoes at times, be sure to also wear a quality orthotic to support and maintain proper structural relationships. You can find a decent orthotic at Costco for about $30, I can supply a custom fit orthotic for $60 or a custom made one for $250.
If you choose to go minimalist/barefoot, it’s very important to train yourself into the barefoot style. I used the Merrell Barefoot Challenge, but if you Google “barefoot training”, you’ll get lot’s of resources. Most important is the foot strike, which should be mid to fore foot, not the heel. It takes practice and time - go slowly.
It strengthens the muscles in your foot, especially in the arch. A healthy foot is a strong foot, one that pronates less and is less liable to develop a collapsed arch. It may cost less energy to forefoot strike because you use the natural springs in your foot and calf muscles more to store and release energy.
Running barefoot or in minimal footwear (usually lighter than traditional running shoes) means that there is less mass to accelerate at the end of the runner's leg with each stride. Running barefoot has been shown to use about 5% less energy than shod running (Divert et al., 2005; Squadrone and Gallozzi, 2009).
Barefoot running feels great! Your feet have lots of sensory nerves. And because there is minimal impact forces on landing it can be very comfortable provided you develop calluses on your feet or wear minimal footwear.
Our feet are the very foundation of our structural integrity. Let us tread on the earth as intended avoiding a plethora of problems with our feet, knees, hips, back, all the way to the top of our heads.
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