Happy Feet

monkey feet. birthday feet. ugly feet. call them what you want; i think they may be happy feet eventually.

let me start this by making it super clear that i am a total skeptic. i am analytical and love research. you have to really prove to me that something works or is beneficial before i’m just going to believe you. i need data.

ok, on to my feet. early this year (april), i ended up at the chiropractors office for a bad case of bursitis in my hip. side note- i was a complete skeptic about chiropractors until i got to my last resort and caved in and realized that he is great and really helped me- i love my chiro; he specializes in sports injury rehab and prevention- perfect for me. after lots of physical analysis, which mostly involved my hips and glutes, he moved on to my feet. “you wear stability shoes?”, he asked (with a bit of confusion in his voice). “i sure do and i love them”, said with utmost confidence (and maybe a little defensiveness). see, my brooks adrenaline proved to me, 6 years ago, that they were a good shoe for me so i became a dedicated wearer. according to my physical assessment, even though i have very flat feet, i have really strong foot to ankle and ankle to knee stability (naturally), therefore maybe my stability shoes (often given for flat feet) may be a little too much. he described my situation to me as always having my feet in braces and never giving them the chance to strengthen themselves. he didn’t suggest switching shoes too quickly but suggested that i do some exercises while barefoot and maybe eventually transition to a neutral shoe.

a few weeks later i went to a Mizuno running lab. obviously skeptical because this is not Brooks but i’m also pretty open minded. i went in and with lots of authority told the running shoe expert that i was pretty sure i needed to be in a neutral shoe. not so fast, missy! he watched me run and walk and said he would put me in a lightweight stability shoe because my feet seem weak. ok, does this sound to you like we’re fixing the problem or masking the problem? helllloooo; masking!

ok, on to august of this year and i was in a yoga class. fortunately the class was taught by a friend and is led in a very casual manner. we’re halfway through the class and yogi says, “star, what are you doing with your feet?” “well, standing on them, i think.” we were just doing standing mountain pose so i’m thinking, what could i really be doing with my feet other than standing on them?! no, that’s wrong. you’re still USING your feet. not me. my arches apparently collapse into the floor. my yogi friend said, “i can’t believe you don’t have a ton of foot pain while running.” well, guess what; i do!

so i started researching TONS of exercises to do to strengthen my arch and foot in general. everything kept taking me back to barefoot running and the Vibram Five Fingers (pictured above). now, like i said, i’m a total skeptic but after loads and loads of research, i really get the theory of strengthening your feet and you can’t do that if they’re always in a brace. i’m a personal trainer, for goodness sake. i, of all people, should have gotten this sooner. if you hurt your knee, we will brace it, but we will work hard to get it out of that brace and strengthen all muscles that have anything to do with it. we should be doing this with the feet too.

don’t get me wrong. i’m not about to go for a run in these. running 1 mile in vibrams without training in them would be like going and running 10 miles with no training- not smart. you have to really condition your feet and work slowly into these- walking a few minutes at a time a few times a day. i don’t know that i’ll ever attempt to run in them (still a bit unsure of distance while essentially barefoot!) but i plan to be that weirdo at the grocery store, gym, or wherever that people stare at because of these weird things on my feet.

i’m not delusional. i know they are really ugly but i’m willing to sacrifice my wonderful fashion sense (i know you’re all picturing my florescent green leg warmers) for healthy, happy feet 😉 i’ll keep you posted!

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