Friday, June 4, 2010

Oh, my Poor, Aching Feet!

My feet hurt.  And it's not because I'm a runner and use them hard.  The small amount of running I did in college, I blame entirely for my back problems.  Ok, not entirely, but it did seem to exacerbate it quickly and intensely. 

I now realize my lower back problems stem from a number of issues, including slight spina bifida, poor diet in utero and out of utero, bad posture and bad form in general.  So, the chiropractor helps with the spinal issues, my Nourishing Traditions type diet (esp bone broth, raw dairy, sea salt, liver, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, lack of refined carbs and chemicals in general) has helped to strengthen my terribly weak bones, core exercises have helped strengthen my muscles and my posture and form.  So, I am doing 200% better then I was 10 years ago.  Woo hoo!

But, one thing that I still use and hate is my orthodics. I got them from my first chiropractor in NYC.  He was trying to be helpful, but I've come to the conclusion he was quite the opposite.  Now, to be fair, they probably got me through the last 8 years with less pain then had I not had them.  But I also am starting to believe that they exacerbated my issues more then helped in the long-run. 

I walk wrong, I pronate, one leg is longer then the other (that was from spinal problems, which are now corrected with regular adjustments), my arches are fallen, my knees hurt when I walk.  Yikes!  What a mess.  The orthodics were supposed to last 5 years and then it was time for new ones. Well, that was 8 years ago.  And my arches started really bothering me about a year ago.  So I was resigning myself to having to put out $500 for more arch support and be stuck, for another 8 years, wearing only sneakers 99% of my life.

And this was a problem, because I had taken a fancy to the idea of finding a pair of moccasin-type shoes that I could wear everywhere-church with my skirts, out walking in my sweats, to the mall in my jeans.  I wanted to have one pair and only one pair of shoes.  I sort of became obsessed with the idea.

I am not, fyi, a girly-girl when it comes to fashion. Esp for shoes. I go for practical 100% of the time (well, except for the Sunday School Christmas concert, but even then, they are off more then they are on.).

But, I thought I needed my orthodics, and you can't wear those in mocassins.  But I just couldn't give up the idea of a one pair of shoes fits all idea. 

Plus, things just weren't adding up.  When I was walking around without shoes, my feet seemed better off.  But when I did a decent amount of walking, they'd hurt like crazy-still do.  I hated the idea of being stuck with orthodics the rest of my life.

I had had 5 chiropractors tell me I walked wrong, and so I needed good foot support to correct it and protect my spine.  But none of them could give me specifics when I asked how I could learn to walk properly.  A few mumbled something about a physical therapist, but from their voices, I never had much hope from the idea. 

I figured that the main problem with the foot/arch pain was that the muscles and bones were not strong enough to hold themselves (and the rest of me) up.  Since I have been eating well, I hoped they must be stronger by now.  So why do they still hurt?

Somehow, I stumbled upon this interesting article, and I read through it and the many comments and became quite excited about the idea of exercising my foot to heal it and allow it to support me properly.  Even allowing me to feel when I was walking wrong, so I could fix it properly and give my spine and knees the protection they really needed.  Besides, they were against sneakers and all for moccasin type shoes.  I had to read more!!

I also read and enjoyed this thread on the same subject.  I was definitely convinced that I wanted to give this minimal footwear a chance.  Shed the sneakers (which were terribly worn out and needing desperately to end up in the town dump). 

I decided on this somewhat unusual looking shoe from Soft Star Shoes:

I was a bit apprehensive about the price. I paid a total of $92 for them, as opposed to $50 for my regular sneakers.  Hopefully they'll be worth it though.  They were too big,but before I had a chance to ship them back, Drew tried them on and decided to keep them.  At least we'll look goofy together. :)

Also, I decided on trying to implement a 'daily' exercise routine for my feet.  Or really, just be cognizant of it all day (which is easy to do when its hurting) and try doing the exercises from the link above-Mark's Big Apple.  Mainly, I do toe spreads, toe pointing, side walking and tip toeing.  And, I go barefoot as much as possible. It does really seem to be making my feet ache less. 

I also love what this guy has to say.  I must confess, after more research, I have decided to give the whole 'running' thing a try. I don't see myself going actual barefoot, and the only way I will run is if I find it's helping my body and not causing any pain.  But I am going to walk in my RunAmocs and possibly, if I find I have good form and it's natural, I'll ease into the running.  But only if it's natural and feels good on my back, knees and feet. 

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