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    PHaselow's Avatar
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    Anybody here with scoliosis using Vibram shoes?

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    Hello.

    I'm wondering if my minimalist shoes are not the best thing for me. I have an S curve scoliosis (low and mid back) that is enough to cause me discomfort. I don't know if my Vibram shoes are working for me. I've had tons of foot trouble despite really being careful about working up to wearing them multiple hours. Right now I am dealing with tendonitis in my toes that some days can really be painful.

    I again ordered Foot Leveler orthodics. I will see if that makes a difference. I have Five Fingers plus a pair of Merrell shoes that I am shelving for a bit. I do not run anymore but I do have a job that keeps me on my feet for 7 hours at a time plus I walk 3-4 miles a few times a week and use an elliptical a few times a week. I see a chiropractor regularly and stretch.

    I know many here advocate the barefoot experience, but my spine isn't straight.

    Any personal experience advice here?

    Thanks!

    Age 48
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    I have scoliosis though I think it's pretty mild from what I've heard from other people. I used to get occasional aches and pains in my lower back but funnily enough I haven't had any pain since ... Well, a while.
    I don't have any shoe inserts and I don't see a chiro or anything specific.

    I wear my Vibrams as much as possible and love them. My back and legs feel actually better now.

    Not sure if any of this is any help since my condition doesn't sound as pronounced as yours...

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    I don't have scoliosis but I do have an old back injury. I found that regular shoes encourage my posture "forward" which puts my body weight on my upper back instead of centered (because the heel isn't zero-drop). Minimalist shoes encourage proper spinal alignment in my experience.

    If you have foot issues too, I'd suggest Merrells. Been wearing mine for two years and it's helped my body mechanics immensely without the "awkward" of Five Fingers.
    "The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love and something to hope for." - Allan K. Chalmers (1759-1834)

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    I'm a chiropractor so I'll likely not tell you anything you haven't heard from yours. It really is a couple of issues. What degree of scoliosis curvature are we talking? Pelvic unleveling? Were you diagnosed with an anotomical short leg or is there a functionally short one? An anatomical variant can be greatly helped with a shoe lift, while with the functional sort its more due to muscle tightness and misalignment of joints and neurological balancing. I tend toward a minimalist approach first, since getting somebody out of orthotics is much tougher once they become dependent on them. However, switching to minimalist shoes can be a tall order when trying to make that switch later in life. In the end it should be considered an intervention (minimalist or orthotics) that you monitor either way. I expect you and your chiropractor will do so. Do check into your condition in regards to the questions I asked though. It may help you in discussing best options.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-03-2013 at 09:26 AM.

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    Funny you should mention the short leg. I broke my hip back in 1987; stress fracture from running. I told my orthopedic surgeon (needed pins since I slipped on ice and broke it through) that I've always felt one leg is longer than the other. He pulled them out straight and said, "Nope". That was it.

    I believe it is probably a functionally short leg but I have not had it officially diagnosed. I have never even had the curve measured as far as degree. When I went to my MD office last fall to see if it was something we should measure to get a baseline, the Nurse Practitioner I saw immediately offered me a pain pill prescription (never said I had pain) and told me scoliosis did not develop in adulthood. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. It looks worse on Xray than in person. It is enough to where my rib cage humps out a bit and a button down sweater doesn't lay quite straight but lay people really never notice. My goal is to make sure it progresses as little as possible. I have probably had the lower back curve since childhood, but the mid back is from the last 10 years. I had an Xray for employment in 1994 and only the low back curve was visible.

    I got away from the orthotics back in 2011 after using them for a few years. I guess we will see if I made the right decision to use them again! I find it frustrating how the opinions within your field can vary so widely. Luckily my chiro falls somewhere in the middle. Some say orthotics are a must.

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    I'm a chiropractor so I'll likely not tell you anything you haven't heard from yours. It really is a couple of issues. What degree of scoliosis curvature are we talking? Pelvic unleveling? Were you diagnosed with an anotomical short leg or is there a functionally short one? An anatomical variant can be greatly helped with a shoe lift, while with the functional sort its more due to muscle tightness and misalignment of joints and neurological balancing. I tend toward a minimalist approach first, since getting somebody out of orthotics is much tougher once they become dependent on them. However, switching to minimalist shoes can be a tall order when trying to make that switch later in life. In the end it should be considered an intervention (minimalist or orthotics) that you monitor either way. I expect you and your chiropractor will do so. Do check into your condition in regards to the questions I asked though. It may help you in discussing best options.
    Last edited by PHaselow; 09-03-2013 at 02:39 PM.

    Age 48
    Start date: 7-5-12
    5'3"
    121lbs
    GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
    Henri Frederic Amiel

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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    I'm a chiropractor so I'll likely not tell you anything you haven't heard from yours. It really is a couple of issues. What degree of scoliosis curvature are we talking? Pelvic unleveling? Were you diagnosed with an anotomical short leg or is there a functionally short one? An anatomical variant can be greatly helped with a shoe lift, while with the functional sort its more due to muscle tightness and misalignment of joints and neurological balancing. I tend toward a minimalist approach first, since getting somebody out of orthotics is much tougher once they become dependent on them. However, switching to minimalist shoes can be a tall order when trying to make that switch later in life. In the end it should be considered an intervention (minimalist or orthotics) that you monitor either way. I expect you and your chiropractor will do so. Do check into your condition in regards to the questions I asked though. It may help you in discussing best options.
    You know it's really nice to hear from a chiro that isn't pro orthopedic 100% of the time. That seems very hard to find. You would not believe how many people that I see who have been given orthotics and have issues become more pronounced after using them. Some are so poorly fitted it looks like they're balancing on a ball instead of stepping on solid ground. Say good bye to any lateral movement.

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    Neckhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    Funny you should mention the short leg. I broke my hip back in 1987; stress fracture from running. I told my orthopedic surgeon (needed pins since I slipped on ice and broke it through) that I've always felt one leg is longer than the other. He pulled them out straight and said, "Nope". That was it.

    I believe it is probably a functionally short leg but I have not had it officially diagnosed. I have never even had the curve measured as far as degree. When I went to my MD office last fall to see if it was something we should measure to get a baseline, the Nurse Practitioner I saw immediately offered me a pain pill prescription (never said I had pain) and told me scoliosis did not develop in adulthood. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. It looks worse on Xray than in person. It is enough to where my rib cage humps out a bit and a button down sweater doesn't lay quite straight but lay people really never notice. My goal is to make sure it progresses as little as possible. I have probably had the lower back curve since childhood, but the mid back is from the last 10 years. I had an Xray for employment in 1994 and only the low back curve was visible.

    I got away from the orthotics back in 2011 after using them for a few years. I guess we will see if I made the right decision to use them again! I find it frustrating how the opinions within your field can vary so widely. Luckily my chiro falls somewhere in the middle. Some say orthotics are a must.

    Thanks!
    Well scoliosis normally begins in adolescence and stops progressing when you stop growing. Trauma or pathology at any time could produce a curvature though. This is also the sort (post traumatic) that responds best to treatment in terms of reducing the curvature since restoring normal neuromusuloskeletal function tends to be what is needed. The reason I asked about measurements was to get an idea of the severity you were talking. Another thing is that positioning for an x-ray needs to be done correctly so that you don't make a straight spine looked curved. The larger the measurement the less likely it was positioning error as well.

    Far as your leg length, it really should be measured by tape measure at the least... and possibly by radiography given your history if you are having issue. It does sound like you are happy with the chiropractor you have. You know you could take your x-rays done elsewhere to him so that he could measure the curvatures for you. It's something I would recommend. I always have patients bring previous diagnostic images. Saves you money and radiation when compared to just re-shooting them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Will View Post
    You know it's really nice to hear from a chiro that isn't pro orthopedic 100% of the time. That seems very hard to find. You would not believe how many people that I see who have been given orthotics and have issues become more pronounced after using them. Some are so poorly fitted it looks like they're balancing on a ball instead of stepping on solid ground. Say good bye to any lateral movement.
    Yeah, I'm more about patient empowerment and orthotics are not all that empowering. You are basically outsourcing your structural support to a device rather than fixing the cause of your problem. Sure in some cases it is necessary, but it shouldn't be the first option for most people IMO. I'd rather try the minimalist route with a progression first, then should that fail consider the alternatives. I will fully admit to being in the minority within my profession on this one though.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-03-2013 at 05:27 PM.

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