My FiveFingers – Vibram, FiveFingers, Toe Shoes, Minimalist Shoes

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I started running in 5 fingers in February 2010. Having many lower back issues do to a slightly shorter right leg, I was surprised to find that running with the 5 fingers had resulted in less visits with my chiropractor. In July 2011, I slowed down on my running and did more weight training and cardio on eliptical and treadmill etc. Starting in January of 2012 I decided to get back into running, but take it to the next level with a heavy half marathon on aggressive trails. Unfortunately, I only trained for 5 weeks before my run. I did fairly well and was pleased, but 2 weeks after, I started experiencing foot problems. I believe I had a slight case of Planters Fasciitis and also an annoying discomfort in the ball of my foot. I believe these problems were because I did not adequately stretch after my marathon and as the muscles healed from the abuse I had done during the marathon, it pulled everything tighter. I iced and stretched and stopped running for 8 weeks now. My feet are a lot better, but I still have that feeling in the ball of my feet which I thought might be Morton’s Neuroma. Yesterday I went to a podiatrist to get a professional opinion. The good news is that my feet look great. He was surprised to find that I did not have all of the ailing issues that so many of his running clients have. He determined that I may have slightly bruised the nerves or tendons in the ball of my feet, but that I really needed to think differently about running and my choice of footwear. He did feel strongly against minimalist shoes, barefoot running etc, and strongly advised wearing and running in shoes that had more support with sturdier soles and cushioning. My question is, do most podiatrists agree with his opinion? He is a foot doctor, and I have seen a lot of other information showing the benefits of minimalist running from other types of researchers and doctors, but I would like to hear other opinions form “foot doctors” who directly deal with barefoot/ minimalist running athletes. Thanks!

Asked by Jason Lynch on Apr 30, 2012 2 answers provided.

MyFiveFingers.com Official Answer:

Hi Jason, great question.  In our experience, most Podiatrists do indeed downplay the benefits of minimalist shoes, and almost always recommend padding and orthotics instead.  One of the most egregious cases we’ve seen was documented in this article.  It is hard for us to take them seriously when they also directly benefit by selling orthotics themselves.

We wrote this article a while back which will give you some context on our opinion:  http://myfivefingers.wpengine.com/podiatry-problem/

Finally, we interviewed Dr. Michael Nirenberg, a podiatrist who is pro-barefoot and wears FiveFingers in his office.  His thoughts are very enlightening!

 

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Submitted Answers

  1. Philip Prowse

    October 10th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Jason, I just am starting the Five Finger running, and did so because of a Podiatrist named Dr. Ray McClanahan, who is a very strong believer in barefoot or minimalist running. He promotes correct toes, a device he invented that helps straighten the toes back out from years of shoes damaging the foot by too small of toe boxes. He is a runner himself, and has many videos on his site that shows why shoes are bad for you, or at least most shoes today, and offers a list of shoes that are good to wear, and the vibram five fingers are one of them. Just look up Correct Toes or his name on Google, you’ll find him.

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