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Thread: Foot injury possibly from wearing Vibram Five Fingers page 2

  1. #11
    Katt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftrare View Post
    At 50 I'm probably significantly older than the average member of this blog. which is partly why my VFF injuries are worse; we old folks don't heal as quickly.

    Like many, I read Born to Run and was enthralled. I started running about 10 years ago and within two years started to have knee trouble. After a few more years, I just gave up -- with great regret. Then the book...
    6 months ago, I bought the green/grey VFFs. I walked and ran on a soft beach a couple times over the first week -- 1-2 miles, tops. The next week I ran on a treadmill and after about 1/2 mile had a cramp-like pain in my calf. It turned out to be a pretty wicked strain of the calf muscle. I waited it out for about 3 weeks. Ran again -- another 1/2 mile and new pain in my arch - most likely plantar. Waited another 5 weeks and ran another 1/2 mile on a firm beach. Next morning, wicked pain in the arch. That was 12 weeks ago and it's gotten much worse, improved, gotten worse, etc.

    Foot doctor said it's plantar. I actually think it's more specifically the flexor hallucis longus, the tendon that runs from your big toe, flosses through your ankle and connects to one of the calf muscles. I can feel a swollen, inflamed node on the tendon about the size of a pea. Whatever the specific diagnosis, the treatment's the same -- rest, stretching and ice. All of which I've been doing and none of which is yielding any sign of improvement.

    I really want to believe in the rationale that I should be able to run in these shoes -- that my feet were "born" for it. I'm bound and determined to prove it, but I'm going to have to wait at least six more weeks and then only walk for another six weeks before I actually try to run a hundred yards.

    Am I crazy? Can anybody give me some encouragement?
    I did the same thing, though I'd been wearing my Vibrams casually for about a year, then I took a 3 mile walk... at a fast pace... and developed Plantars. This was 10 months ago. I'm still having trouble with it, but it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it did. My understanding is that Plantars can take up to two years to heal on its own. So... give it time.

  2. #12
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    I'd really recommend walking around in a forefoot gait for a long time before ever running that way.

  3. #13
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    I think the problem people have with them is that we are seeing articles and research about "barefoot running" so often now, that people want them to be running shoes. I have 3 pairs, and I do run in them, and have run up to 6 miles in them, but they were walking and general wearing shoes first. I wear them everywhere because they are so much more comfortable than any other shoe I've ever worn. You really have to let your feet get used to the concept of barefooting first by allowing all of the small muscles in your feet to strengthen slowly by learning to walk in VFFs comfortably for months before running. If you want to keep running, then keep your regular running shoes, but wear your VFFs for everything else. After 3, 4, 6 months (whenever your feet are so comfortable in them that you don't want to wear other shoes) start doing sprints on a soft surface in them. Sprints have you up on your toes automatically, so you're reinforcing the correct running position for barefoot shoes. Choose a park with grass, a school track, or another softer-than-sidewalk surface and just do a tabata sprint session (sprint 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat for 4 minutes, then die).

    Once you've sprinted in them for a few weeks, then do short regular paced runs. You have to learn to run on your forefoot to midfoot in Vibrams, which is completely opposite from the heel strike regular running shoes nearly force you to use. Your feet, ankles, and calves will all be sore after just a mile (if that), so don't expect to do an actual "long run." Just run as long as you can stay up on your forefoot, and then walk. Your running times will eventually get longer.

    This method really worked for me, and as of January this year I was no longer able to run in my NewBalance running shoes at all. I tried, just to see what it would feel like again, and my knees started hurting pretty badly (enough that I couldn't run for days) after only 2 times running 3-4 miles. My feet, knees, legs, and hips all feel great running in Vibrams now, and I'll never go back to running in traditional running shoes. It does take a long time to transition though (it took me over 6 months), so you just have to take it slow.

    Walking around on your toes for blocks at a time really helps too, it's great practice for running up on your forefoot.
    Last edited by hannahc; 08-09-2010 at 01:03 PM.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftrare View Post
    I really want to believe in the rationale that I should be able to run in these shoes -- that my feet were "born" for it. I'm bound and determined to prove it, but I'm going to have to wait at least six more weeks and then only walk for another six weeks before I actually try to run a hundred yards.

    Am I crazy? Can anybody give me some encouragement?
    You are not crazy. But you have to remember, that you have been wearing regular shoes for 50 years. That doesn't undo itself over night. Shoes make our feet mooshy and soft. Even if you are an athlete, your feet will suffer atrophy from wearing shoes, and your toes will have bent unnaturally close and pointed instead of the wide spread you need for balance. And it's not just the muscles of the feet that are soft and weak. There is an incredibly complex and intricate network of muscles in your ankles, legs, and even low back that aren't getting used. Even if you're an athlete.

    Thankfully, this CAN be undone. But growing your bones apart and strengthening muscles that have been atrophied and misshapen for decades.

    Use your VFF's for leisure and gently build your endurance without rushing. Use them around the house, for short walks, and strolling and just work up use. Save your sneakers for hardcore running.

  5. #15
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    Exactly -- think of it as if you're going into physical therapy after coming out of a leg cast. Gotta take it easy and build up very slowly, err on the side of caution, etc.!

    (I don't have my VFFs till Wednesday, but that's the analogy I always think of. My brother has had a lot of orthopedic surgery and had to learn to walk again from scratch to match his new build... this must be similar!)

  6. #16
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    Sounds like everyone is suffering from plantar fasciitis.

    roll a frozen water bottle up and down the length of your arch with increasing weight on it while rolling. Also, place a towel on floor, sit in a chair, put bare (sore) foot at one end of towel and "roll/curl" the towel by grabbing and curling it under your toes.

    Some basic stuff. PF hurts...

    My VFF foot pain is more the tendons on the instep, particularly the 3-5 toes. I sprinted on pavement...not smart.

  7. #17
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    All I would say is you don't need the Vibrams to run...I would concentrate on slow, gentle BF runs and focus on your technique to see if that might help. Maybe the shoes aren't doing you any favours. Good running technique video here in case you haven't seen it: http://vimeo.com/12551218

  8. #18
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    I now have 3 pairs of Vibrams - KSOs, Sprints, and the newish Bikilas.

    The KSOs I use in the forest, the Sprints I wear running around, and the bikilas I use on blacktop and concrete trail paths. They have a slightly thicker sole, and a much better fit in the heel area for this type of running (imo).

    I've talked to a few barefoot runners around here and one of them broke their middle and 4th toes. He's also in the medical profession and said he was stupid for not working up his muscles in his Vibrams. According to him, there are muscles in your calf and in your foot that are now being 'used' when they weren't in shoes before. So they are underdeveloped and weak and that it takes a good deal of time to work up to it. Think like rehabing a muscle in a cast that wasn't being used much. It's atrophied, so it's going to take a while to build it up, even though the rest of your body is good to go. He also said that at the first sign of any pain, that you need to stop, walk the rest, ice and stretch. Massage also helps. I've followed this advice and my pains have been minimal thankfully. Another thing to think about is what surface you are running on. I only do sprints on a football or baseball field, my 'runs' on trails are jogs mainly, unless I use the trail in the forest. You might want to consider seeing a massage therapist as well - the work they can do on your calves, ITbands, and arches can really help - at least they have me. I'm at the point now where a foam roller and occasional massage either by myself or a therapist helps a ton.

  9. #19
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    Great post; I was curious about this as well...I did the Crossfit Endurance WOD a couple weeks back (run 5K) in my KSOs after only having run 1-mile increments in them...Felt good on the run until the trip back and when taking off my KSOs I had a HUGE blister on a couple of toes...My muscles weren't all that sore, but the running on pavement for the majority of the run didn't do me any favors for sure

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