Not on My Feet

Taking time to smell the flowers in my VFFs.

I love statistics.  For instance, did you know that the more ice cream that is sold, the higher the murder rate in a city?  Does this mean murderers like ice cream?  That ice cream causes murders?  Or just that both occur more in warm weather months?  Hmmmmm.  Be careful how you link your stats.

So consider the article linking up stats, here: The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic? The author posits that people who switch to “barefoot” or VFF running sustain more injuries.  Read the whole article and you’ll see that it’s hard to draw this conclusion in the first place.  But also consider all the information not included in the article:

  • Barefoot running is dependent on completely changing FORM
  • Running barefoot with the same form used with high wedge/high structure running shoes is a recipe for disaster
  • Runners are advised to switch over to barefoot running gradually to build the under-developed support muscles in the feet, ankle and calves that will be called to action with the new running form

I developed plantar’s fasciitis while running in highly structured “modern” Adistar running shoes. I did not run for eight months while letting it heal.  I have tried numerous therapies and exercises, and I will tell you what has worked for me, although I believe it is very individualistic:

  • Rest
  • Stretching
  • Boot/Sock
  • Taping
  • Changing my form and taking up VFF Running — shifting my weight forward onto my toes and NEVER NEVER NEVER letting my heels touch the ground

I found the two orthopedists I visited 95% worthless, except for diagnosis.

I love statistics; they are entertaining.  But I love using my own brain even more.  And I’d love to hear your runner’s injury stories, and what has worked for you.

Happy trails!


12 Responses to “Not on My Feet”
  1. Kim says:

    I am not a runner.. Ever.. Not even if I was on fire..but I do suffer the same foot problems as you, since I live in scorching south Texas and am a barefoot/flip flop kinda gal… Do you think if I replaced going in my birthday bare feet to wearing these funky sort of shoes, if even just for walking it would help? Are they hot? Are they comfortable? My toes are a tiny bit afraid of smothering! 🙂 and just for the count.. My orthopedics doctors were even less sure of how to help me than yours was… But billed me like they had just made the most incredible discovery ever on the planet!

  2. Gordon says:

    I have always wanted to love to run but I have always hated it, mainly because of the amount of pain shooting through my legs. I have been plagued by shin splints for as long as I can remember. It does not matter what surface I’m on or what sport I’m trying to play, whether it be racketball, boot camp or just plain ol running, the pain is always there. I’ve tried running in $150 Asics and $20 walmart specials.

    Last summer I purchased a new pair of sneakers for my youngest son. After having them on for a few hours, he was challenged to a foot race by one of our neighborhood friends. As always, he accepted the challenge but before the race began, he took both his new sneakers and socks off stating “I can run much faster barefooted.”

    This got me to thinking and I began my quest to find out why. After some research, I ended up purchasing a pair of five fingers.

    I started slowly, taking an extended amount time to build up the dormant muscles in my feet.

    I am now running completely pain free. I wear my five fingers everywhere: boot camp, the lake, racketball etc…

  3. gnat says:

    This is just plain funny!

    Thanks for making me think about the way I think about stats.

    Not too sure I need to be buying into them so much….

  4. Baker Alkon says:

    Pam, I’m not a runner but my father is. He got a pair of these toe shoes and I have to tell you, I almost peed myself watching him try to put them on for the first time.

  5. Pamela says:

    They are so ridiculous-looking, it is awful. I know people that wear them everywhere, but I limit it to places or times of day I can’t be seen 🙂

  6. Adam says:

    I don’t have an PF story, but I did get a pair of VFF KSO’s earlier this year. Like many VFF runners, I began slowly. I’ve only had them a few months and I’ve already noticed a difference in my running stride. I won’t call myself a forefoot striker (full-time), but it definitely made an impact. Now if/when I heel strike, I am much, much more aware of it (in regular shoes, I almost never do it in VFF unless very fatigued). My overall balance has improved, and I think that I am actually running more efficiently than before. I’ve taken them out up to 5.5mi, and I can’t wait to work that distance higher once I’m done with my fall marathon.

    In short, I love the VFFs! And I don’t care, I wear them everywhere on the weekends 🙂

  7. rbuike says:

    I recently made the switch to VFFs and like them. Initially it was to use them as a training tool to learn to run forefoot style. I had numerous foot issues over the last year, tried numerous different types of shoes and even custom orthotics to no effect. Now I am pain free.

    You are absolutely right in that you MUST change your form and you must make the switch SLOWLY. I even suggest a “transitional” shoe like a racing flat (Zoot Ultra TT for example) before making the switch.

    • Pamela says:

      Great idea about the Zoot Ultra. Thanks! I love hearing these encouraging stories. I am more convinced than ever that for me this is the direction to go. Good luck to you!

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  1. Not on My Feet…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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