I've been following Mark's site for quite some time now, but actually just tonight discovered the forums! I've been lurking in the dark! Lol
Anyways, I had a couple questions for anyone experienced with the barefoot/minimal footwear.
First, I recently sustained a grade 2 medial ankle sprain, mostly due to me making the common mistake of doing too much too soon in my Vibrams. That was pretty stupid, but I digress.. I got my 3-week-worn walking boot off a week and a half ago, and was given orthotic insoles. So I'm wondering if this might be an instance where wearing them might actually be a good thing- i.e. supporting those ligaments while they continue healing? Or would it be more beneficial to go as minimal as possible? Keep in mind, I won't be doing any running or foot-intensive cardio for at least another month or two, so I'm mainly talking about just everyday walking activities, and being on my feet at work for hours on end.. which leads me to my other question:
I bartend, so I'm on my feet every work day for at least 5-6 hours at a time, sometimes as much as 10-11, on hard tile floors. This is when the podiatrist recommended I need the orthotics the most. Is that a situation where minimal footwear would still be ideal? I'm on the fence on that one- true, Grok was barefoot, but he wasn't standing/walking non-stop on manmade hard ass materials either. I'm required to wear non-slip, casual/dress black shoes at my work, but have been eternally curious about finding some minimal shoes that might look the part. But again, would being on my near-bare feet in such a foot-hostile environment be a good idea?
I'm very aware that you guys aren't doctors of course (well maybe some of you? lol), so I'm not counting on medical advice to supercede that of my podiatrist.. just getting some opinions!
Thanks all, and I look forward to peeking around some more on these forums!
It took me years to make the transition as I'm older and my feet were in terrible condition. It really helped me for the first year or so to have shoes with arch support available to put on when my feet got really tired. You want to work them, yes, but overdoing it just leads to problems. Patience.
I used to bartend as well, but before transitioning to minimal footwear. I wouldn't recommend Feiyue's for this purpose, because they're not non-slip, but I would recommend them for any other time as they look the shit: Amazon.com: Feiyue Martial Art Wushu Shoes-BLACK size 43: Sports & Outdoors (coincidentally, this morning somebody asked me where I trained, they said the last time they saw Feiyues "they were on my face" because the guy used to do Kung Fu... I don't)
I hope you can get some suggestions though. I used to wear sneakers to my bar job, and they had padding but it wasn't too much, however I didn't know what minimalist footwear even was at the time. My gf is also currently a bartender and she didn't like the Feiyues for this purpose, she said they were rather slippery.
I can't comment on your foot injury, I can only say I haven't had a single issue ever since taking my shoes off. Now I think I spend at least 60% of my time without any type of "protection" on my feet. This will likely change with the weather, right now it's summer and having anything on your feet is against nature. Even driving is way more engaging when you're barefoot, give that a go. I'm mad I neglected my feet for so long, they love feeling the breeze now when I drive.
As a foot health professional I say were the orthotics till the ligaments full heal, which can take 3-12months. If you rush it to get away from the orthotics the ankle can become the weak link and plague with future problems. Once you are past the healing point you can wean away from the supports, this will take some time as well. You do not want to do too fast or you can re-injure the area.
I run barefoot everyday when taking my dogs out through the woods, granted its only about a 1/2 mile of running and 1/2 mile of walking. The best advice is to start totally barefoot and your skin will hurt long before you can damage any ligaments. This may mean initally just walking barefoot and put your vibrams on when the skin starts to complain.
Before the sprain, I walked around barefoot or with thin sandals most of the time, save when I'm at work, so my feet are accustomed to being unencumbered. I think it was just one 5 mile walk/run in the Vibrams, which was the first time I put any significant mileage on them at once, that did me in. I kept hearing that the goal was a forefoot/midfoot strike, so I consciously tried to accomplish that- the problem was I was actually toe running the whole time because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. Now I know I have to let my heel relax and actually still hit the ground.
So yea, my main concern right now is just making sure the ligaments heal properly so it doesn't become a recurring issue. Kitoi, is there a way to know when it's healed enough to begin weaning myself off the orthotics? I still have a small amount of pain, like a 1 out of 10, which I attribute more to some residual muscle weakness from being in that boot, as well as my foot getting used to the orthotics. Would whenever it's completely pain free be a good benchmark?
If there is any pain it's too soon to wean. Once you are pain free for 2-4wks slowly decrease your wearing time each day (in 1hr increments), if the pain returns you're not ready to wean. For example; 1st day you the support 1 hour less and no problem. Next 2hrs no problem, but on the 3rd day you get some pain or burning at 3hrs. So over the next few days only decrease time by 2hrs, then try 3hrs again and see what happens, no pain and keep decreasing. You just continue this process till you can go barefoot with pain.
I wore orthotics for 15yrs and it took me 3-4months to wean away from them and build the strength back that the supports took away. Most people try to rush and hurt themselves.
Thanks everyone for your opinions, and especially kitoi! Much obliged