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Update on the Vibrams

Update on the Vibrams

I promised to keep you updated on how I'm getting along with my minimalistic Vibram 5 finger shoes. In my last post I reported that my left heel felt bruised. Someone, CurlyGurly, I think (can't seem to tag any more), suggested it may actually be the dreaded plantar fasciitis. That got me searching the web and I came to the conclusion she may be right. It's always my left heel and always the same place and it did seem odd. But if it is, it's not really bad and it hasn't stopped me running in normal shoes. Anyway I gave myself a break from running in the Vibrams of about 3 weeks and then tentatively started back with a slow 4k, increasing to a speedier 5k and culminating in a 10k this Sunday. I alternate with my normal shoes and will keep my Vibrams for the shorter runs, building up slowly (apart from the odd 10k!).

I do like them. They are light and I automatically increase my cadence when wearing them. I go barefoot as often as I can anyway and I like the idea of strengthening my arches, feet, calves etc. It also makes sense to me that we are made to run barefoot and not with a huge wedge under our heels. Apart from the "bruised heel" problem I have had no aches and pains. My left heel is still sensitive, but doesn't hurt - let's say I'm very aware of it and notice every "massage" from every stone, root or rock. I try to run on soft ground, or smooth tarmac. I still think I'm a heel striker, but the faster cadence helps avoid problems and I'm working on my form. On the other hand I don't want to change my style too much and set something else off!

And when I have calves of steel, beautiful feet like MrNiceGuy, strong arches and supple knees I will report.

Oh, and so far only one older woman on a bike has stared at my strange looking feet. And I can now get them on without finding 2 toes in one pouch (at first I felt like a 2-year-old putting gloves on!).

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If you are indeed heel striking in these , it could be your problem? There is a reason that running shoes developed from the 1970's to have heel cushioning - because they were made to actually encourage people to lengthen their stride ( to run faster) such that they did heel strike. Wearing heeled shoes for most of their lives, many people think that running similar to the way they walk ( heel rolling to toe pushoff ) is "natural" - but is simply something they have unconsciously learned. I do not remember wearing shoes ever until I was about 14 years old ( warm weather where we lived) - and I have been a "natural" mid-foot striker ever since I started C25k and when I did not even know that there was such things as heel- strikers :)

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I was also a barefoot kid as often as possible. Spent some of my childhood in Singapore so seemed to live in flip-flops. I was never a high heels gal either, being quite tall for a woman. Plus I also have big feet for the female of the species and there is not a vast choice in my size. I will persist with the Vibrams and work on my light, gazelle-like form!

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One thing to practice for mid to fore foot landing - walk with your hands clasped behind your back and then start to run for 100 yards ( with hands still behind back) It is almost impossible to heel strike while doing this . Then transfer that "feeling" to normal running

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The faster cadence will help, purely since the feet don't spend as much time in contact with the ground. Still, it's good to see that following initial problems, the distances covered in them have become moderate, as you gradually transition towards a zero drop/minimalist shoe.

To assist further, after finishing your runs in normal trainers, remove them and cover a short distance of up to 100 yards on concrete in your bare feet, paying attention to what your feet are doing. The fatigue of having already run should ensure that you don't over-stride, while also making you instantly aware if the heel is striking the ground first, allowing adjustments to made.

Still, despite initial teething problems, it's good to see that you've continued to persevere.

As for beautiful feet, simply apply coconut oil every day, to nourish skin and nails, in addition to keeping toe nails short and neatly filed.

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Thanks for the update!

Do take care of that heel, mine escalated to the point I couldn't put my foot on the floor...

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I really only notice it with the Vibrams. Walked 10k today and ran 7k in my Nikes and have absolutely no problems. I will be careful, my sister had very bad PF for months and could hardly drive or walk. I don't want that!

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I've changed my technique, I used to be a heel striker, not good for heels obviously, I now run with a more mid foot landing. My heel pain is just about gone, but I'm now very very slow...It's put a good minute or more on my pace...never mind, no pain and running again is pretty good.

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