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Vibram Five Fingers

Discussion in 'Survival of the Fittest' started by gunbunny, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I recently acquired a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes. I had no plans on using them for anything other than water shoes. I started wearing them around the house, getting a feel for them, mostly to creep out Mrs Gunbunny. For some reason she has a pathological disorder about the shoes.

    Last week, the shipment of toe socks I ordered off of Amazon finally arrived from Korea. Feeling more confident not to stink up the house by wearing the shoes without socks, I started wearing them outside while walking.

    I started hiking while wearing the shoes, and that's when I really noticed a difference. My calves hurt, especially when going down steps. I never had this problem before. My instep hurt from placing my feet on rocks unwisely. You learn pretty quickly when wearing a pair of minimalist shoes where NOT to put your feet.

    I haven't even begun to run in them. I periodically thought about it, but then put it out of my mind when thinking about how I run with regular running shoes. Thoughts of glass or other sharp objects on the urban trail really make me not want to try it.

    I haven't even used them when lifting yet, but I was planning on trying it.

    Seemingly for no reason, my lower back hurt for all day yesterday, mostly gone by this morning, but still partially there. My question is this, am I transitioning my stabilization muscles incorrectly (i.e. too fast) if my back acts up because of these shoes?
    Ganado, HK_User and Hanzo like this.
  2. madmax

    madmax Far right. Bipolar. Veteran. Don't push me.

    You're basically barefoot in those. If you're not accustomed to going barefoot you may have some problems. Give it time if you like them. They aren't for everyone. You may need more cushion and support.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
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  3. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    If you have been wearing "regular" shoes and are transitioning, you need to ease in. You will use a different foot placement and stride. And your feet, and ultimately everything connected, might not be used to it.

    Try doing maybe only 20-30 minutes a day for the first week, then upping it to 45-60 the next week, then to maybe 2-3 hours the next week or two. Maybe just start out with walking during this time. And pay attention to your foot placement. You will likely find it to be lighter than when wearing "shoes." If you are landing heavily, that is bad. And you will probably find you place your feet less with your heels and more mid foot and balls of your feet. That way you use all of your feet and legs as shock absorbers as opposed to the more jarring heel strike type placement.

    I'm no expert, but hope that helps. Good luck with them.
    Ganado, madmax and HK_User like this.
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    The foot has many bones and connective tissues, they are not designed for the task you are placing on it. The back was not designed for us to stand and put stress on the arched section of the back the way we do. The extra shock you now transmit to your back comes from the lack of shock absorbing function of the new foot ware.

    Shoes with correct support for specific task alleviate some of these problems. By you using the new foot ware your body is trying to compensate for an ever changing set of stress points. Balance is all with the body and the new foot gear has changed the balance of muscles. Muscles, for the most part only pull so they have very little in the way of adjusting to new ways of use.
    chelloveck, madmax and gunbunny like this.
  5. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

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  6. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I have a pair and I love them. I never had any foot or leg or back pain. Then again I spend the majority of my time in the house where I'm either barefoot or in socks so it wasn't a big transition for me. The only problem I ever have is they rub the back of my ankle to a bloody pulp so I have to put a bandaid there to keep that from happening. I tried the toe socks with them but can't do it. Something about that additional bit between my toes shoves my little toes at a bad angle and it really hurts.
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    That sounds like the likely culprit to me. I can't run with anything hanging on my lower back anymore- the thumping throws my back out. I have to carry my weight on my shoulders and upper back. Also, I hardly ever walk around without shoes on.

    After I recover, I'll keep the VFF wearing to a minimum, and slowly increase how long or how far I walk and hike with them on.

    Yes, they definitely change the way you place your foot down. I am inefficient in many ways, and would not make a good ninja.
    Hanzo likes this.
  8. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Just remember, we were born without shoes and our ancestors didn't wear them. Our physiology CAN handle barefoot and minimalist walking and running. We just have to retrain a lifetime of shoe wearing.

    My wife is a prime example. She started by walking around the block barefoot. She would carry her slippers with her for when the ground was too rough or her feet started to form hot spots. She very gradually increased her distance.

    Then she started running barefoot. Very gradually. She would run one minute and walk two. Over time, the running time increased and the walking time decreased. As she ran longer, she wore FiveFingers and then transitioned to sandals. Over time, she progressed to where she could run half marathons in sandals.

    Then she added trail running. Because of our muddy trails, she started going with minimalist trail shoes to keep her feet from sliding off the foot bed. These shoes include FiveFingers.

    So far, she has gone up to about 22 miles on trail.

    My long winded point is that it takes time to get retrained to use less on your feet. Kind of like going primitive camping. Take all your gear and slowly get used to using less. Safer that way.
    Motomom34, gunbunny, kellory and 2 others like this.
  9. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I told a podiatrist this once when I went in for some weird bruising on my feet. (I love going barefoot) the pody said to me 'and we didn't have concrete and tile floors' dirt and wood and vegetation is more forgiving to your feet legs and back.

    Point taken doc... I stopped jogging barefoot on concrete and asphalt. [emoji38]
  10. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Then there may be other damage we have heaped upon ourselves and most back problems are cumulative, surgery will repair somethings but you cannot fix a steel suspension bridge or the human back with parachute cord.
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  11. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I hear ya! I'm not giving up, I like the idea of annoying my wife with the VFF shoes, her utter disgust for them amuses me. I like to wrap my toes around her calf when she's not expecting it; she jumps away.

    Aside from tormenting my wife, I really like how quiet you can be while walking in the woods with the VFF on. I like the idea of having a better balanced core, although nobody's perfect because even our limbs usually don't measure exactly the same length.
    ditch witch, HK_User, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  12. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    That is true. Same thing I tell my tai chi students... Listen to your body. It will tell you what you can and cannot do at this point. And if you have an injury, check with your doctor(s). I only play one on TV.

    But some things can be retrained and rehabbed. I have students that tell me they have an injury or some such. I tell them the same thing. And to not do any of the exercises if it bothers them. Typically, if they do the qigong exercises correctly, they tell me they feel better after. Even back and joint injuries. I just ask them to modify and moderate to accommodate for injuries.
    kellory, Ganado and ghrit like this.
  13. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Good on you, @gunbunny. Just pay attention to what your body tells you.
    Ganado likes this.
  14. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @Hanzo, im so glad to hear you say that about tai chi, i have a 79 yr old mother that is a rock star, she just got her certification to teach tai chi, she's been teaching it all along but needed cert for some obscure legal reason. It has balanced her physically, mentaly and emotionally.
    Hanzo likes this.
  15. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    This conversation about pain and injury made me think of a funny situation that happened about a year or two ago.

    I am teaching in front of my class and one of my students, an elderly lady, comes right up to me and says way to loudly for me, "You have to touch me." Kind of freaked me out, so I say, "Excuse me?!?"

    She then tells me she has been having this pain near her stomach. Now wasn't the time, so I told her to go see her doctor, or she can see me after class.

    So after class, I tell her I am not a doctor. But for some reason, she is convinced I can help her. And she asks me to. I do not know what she had or what her situation was, so I did not want to touch her, so I didn't. But I did reiki her.

    During that time, I never touched her. But she said she could feel heat ranting from my hand. And when we were done, she said the pain was gone. I told her to go get checked out anyway.

    So again, my long winded point is that our intent is a very powerful thing. So if your intent is to condition yourself for barefoot or minimalist walking!running or anything else for that matter, you can and most likely will find a way.

    One more quick example of the power of intent. One of my Wing Chun teachers was diagnosed with cancer about the size of a baseball. Doctors told him they had to operate immediately and to treat it the usual way, with radiation and chemo. He told them he wanted to try naturalistic first. Doctors told him no. He said thirty days.

    So for the next thirty days, he drank this tea. Shameless plug. He told me that he drank Jason Winters tea because this guy, Jason Winters also had cancer and he put a blend of teas together that helped him eliminate the cancer from his body. Remember, this is here say.

    After drinking this tea for thirty days, his doctor was amazed to find the cancer was gone. Fearing it might have migrated, they checked his whole body. Cancer free. Is it the tea? Dunno. Could be. But I think the main component was his strong intent. He is a fighter, not just physically. Although physically, he really kicks ass.

    All kinds of studies on the power of the mind. The power of intent. I tell those stories in my classes because intent is one of the components of tai chi. To me, the most powerful.
    Motomom34 and Ganado like this.
  16. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    She sounds awesome, @Ganado! What kind of tai chi does she teach?
  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    uhhhh idk Hanzo, she was talking about having trouble learning something for arthritis part of certification and Dr Lam's method? does that make sense to you?
    Hanzo likes this.
  18. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Yeah. I know Dr. Lam.
    Ganado likes this.
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    If I was any more silent in the woods, I'd be home asleep.
    ditch witch likes this.
  20. madmax

    madmax Far right. Bipolar. Veteran. Don't push me.

    While I understand healing hands... I am far away from this. Maybe I'll mature in my 60's.
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