My FiveFingers

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The End is Near!

by Daniel Dessinger » on Aug 12, 2010 13

As I mentioned on Twitter just a little while ago, the end is near for me and VFFs. I let my heel hurt for two months before doing anything about it. I wanted to wait and see if it was just a bruise that would heal. Dumb. Since then, I’ve been going to a chiropractor who specializes in extremities (shoulders, knees, feet, hands). We x-rayed the foot and he diagnosed me with calcific tendonitis (extremely rare for a foot, I’m told), plastic degeneration (ligaments are too stretched to naturally return to original size and shape), sesmoid non-union of the first metatarsil, and fallen arches.

Do What?

I COULD explain all that. But I won’t.

Blah blah blah! You were a stupid teenager and could have prevented most of these problems. Way to be irresponsible!

Love, Doctor.

Awesome. So on Monday, I went in to the doctor’s office and asked to be scanned for orthotics. I stood on what looked like a cross between a scale and a digital scanner. They scanned my feet again and ordered the custom orthotics. They’ll be inserts I slip into whatever pair of shoes I’ll be wearing. In other words, no more Fivefingers. Not for a while, anyway. My foot is in so much pain, I’m probably going to wear these puppies every waking moment. I just need relief from chronic pain. I’ve had my friends pray for my foot half a dozen times at least. It hasn’t been healed yet, but I’ll keep asking and praying. In the meantime, I’m wearing orthotics. I’m no dummy…. Well, anymore.

So I may have nothing to say to you for a while. I love the Vibram community. You are some hardcore peeps. Hopefully something will turn around and I’ll be back.

My Doctor’s Take on Barefoot Versus Running Shoes

I’ll leave you with this little tidbit: When discussing the option of orthotics, I asked my doctor a few questions. I wanted to know what he thought of other orthotics like Ideal Feet, and I wanted his take on the barefoot running versus athletic shoes debate. I’d already heard from the barefoot folks, and was fairly convinced by their argument. But it’s not enough to hear one side.

He told me that, although adjusting your stride to a barefoot mid-strike does cause fewer foot injuries, it leads to increased knee injuries. With a traditional shoe heel-strike, the foot absorbs most of the pounding and distributes the shock throughout the arches and tendons of the foot. With a mid-strike, the foot takes very little abuse but requires the knees to handle much more of the shock.

He says a person with healthy arches could have success running barefoot without knee damage. But a person in my condition, with fallen arches, is only asking for trouble.

I’m not saying I believe him 100%, but his argument was compelling. He’s not just any doctor. I wouldn’t believe 95% of medical specialists in ANY field because they think within the box they were given at school. This guy is top notch everything, and he’s worth trusting. He doesn’t know EVERYTHING, though. My regular chiropractor (who is far from average) is much more invested in organic living / whole foods / wellness, and he believes that even plastic degeneration MIGHT be reversed by the right nutritional protocol.

He tells me that the human body can heal just about anything that is wrong with it if you only give it the right amount and type of nutrients. The protocol may call for a hardcore ultra strict juicing diet for a few months, but it “could” work. No promises, but he won’t close the door on the possibility until I’ve tried it.

So that’s still an option lying out there. The juicer you need for this diet is like $2k, though, because of how finely it processes every bit of the fruit and vegetables. That’s not in the forecast right now, so we’ll see what happens in that arena over time.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot ’em over to me, either in the comments below or through the contact form. Thanks for stopping by and being apart of this community!

– Daniel

Want to Keep the Community Going?

Don’t want to see us close up shop? You can keep it from happening. If I can find two or three of you  to contribute a weekly post, we’ll keep the MyFiveFingers community alive and kickin’. Hit me up if you’re interested in contributing. I’m only interested in people who are willing to commit to one post per week for six months.

Submitted Comments

  1. Ian Mildon says:

    I personally doubt the validity of his comments about increased knee problems for barefoot runners. I have had knee problems all my life, yet in the time I have been using VFF and going barefoot (including barefoot running) I have had a dramatic lack of knee pain or discomfort. I believe my problems were likely caused by wearing shoes from childhood and that now as an adult in my 40’s I am correcting years of imbalance in my body.

  2. Daniel says:

    Ian, I honestly don’t know which position is true. I’ve heard both, and both are pretty convincing. I do know that my foot is now so painful I can’t bear to walk barefoot much of the time. I miss the feeling of walking barefoot, but it’s not working for me now.

    I hope that changes in the future.

  3. SPAMMY Vibram SEO says:

    How long will it take to adjust to FiveFingers? It depends on the person. If you are someone who trains or walks barefoot or if you use shoes that have minimal support then it should take less time to adapt. If this does not apply to you then it may take a lot longer for your feet, joints, ligaments and muscles to adjust.

  4. Will says:

    I have knee problems, and I’ve only been barefoot running for about a year… and it hurts less now than ever. I don’t think it’s recovered crap, but I do think it allows MORE control during my lands and I can adjust as needed per basis. I too have heard both sides, and am sure you’ve had your feel of it, but I’ll continue anyway since google led me here and others will follow. I’ve known a lot of doctors (being in medical) and I can honestly tell you in a short and simple phrase- doctors conflict with eachother. I’m a very objective person, and ontop of everything else…. I’m logical and use scientific process. Mainly, your feet are your feet and they have a solitary purpose- for them to fail is unbelievable to me since our eyes,ears, brains… they just work well and that’s why we’ve become such a successful species. I do think that some of us have problems (like you and I), but that doesn’t mean that everyone should be treated as though they will have them- it’d be like having 20/20 vision and being told to wear practice glasses or something, or a 20 year old to wear practice hearing-aids.

    In the end, I bet he’s a swell doctor, and truely believes in what he was taught in school and by his peers. I honestly wouldn’t go to a podiatrist and expect them to say “yeah go barefooted!”, just as I wouldn’t go to the optometrist, GP, or psychiatrist expecting them to say “yeah go without sunglasses/vitamin supplements/anti-depressants”. Just food for thought.

  5. Corvus says:

    I’ve had my Vibram 5Fingers for about a month now. I loved them at first. LOVED them. I broke them in slowly, and have done a few short runs in them. I started with the regular KSO and it was great. I then bought the KSO Trek. I went for a walk in the KSO treks–and in the aftermath, my back is in so much pain. It feels like muscular pain, so it could be that I strained muscles from walking. I guess? But the pain is pretty severe–I can’t sleep well, can’t roll over, etc. Anyone else experience this? Any advice? Thanks!

  6. miguel pena says:

    So I thought i’d join in too. I bought my VFF KSO sports on saturday and tried em out for the first real test today (monday) I walked home from work wearing them. 8 miles later I have the biggest blister ever on my left big toe. I can’t say i was suprised, not because of doubt in the vff but because i was warned not to jump right into my normal routine, and thats exactly what I did. Blister aside I love the feel of the ground beneath me when i wear them, I plan on taking it a bit easier and working up to my standard long walks and hikes. I regret being childish and over doing it because now i have to wait for my blister to heal to use them some more, but lesson learned, my calves and feet hurt like hell, but its a good hurt that lets me know I’m putting some unused muscle groups to work. Any recommendations on hiking/ walking would be rad, I’m not a runner ( atleast not more than a mile or so at a time) its just not for me, but i can’t wait to get out on some trails and do some light bouldering in these, if anyone has anything to say i’d appreciate it

  7. Dan says:

    Miguel, sorry about the blister! My 5 fingers fit snug so I haven’t had any issues with sore feet yet, just sore lower legs.

    Emily is a big hiker/adventurer. You should subscribe to our rss: to be sure to catch her next post.

  8. miguel pena says:

    Ya, i’m sorta concerned because when i got them the size i registered on the little size thingie was 40, but it felt almost painful on my big to just to wear, so i got a 41. After that episode though i’m wondering if the 40 may have been the better choice. Hopefully it’s just that I over did it, or i may just need to get those injinji socks.

  9. Dan says:

    40s are what I use, but they only feel tight on my pinky toe.

  10. Energymonkey says:

    Seriously… Everyone,GO READ “BAREFOOT RUNNING STEP BY STEP” By Ken Bob Saxton RIGHT NOW! I too had some not so subtle pan last summer from doing too much too soon in my VFFs. As I learned from this book (much cheaper than a pair of shoes, BTW…) the problem wasn’t just losing the heel strike, but learning to lose the “strike” all together. Wether walking or running, anyone who has been in shoes for years will develop an unnatural gait which involves way too much bounce! Watch any of these Kenyan Olympians who seem to glide to victory… That’s just it- they glide! No bounce in their step. When I see people running now in minimal shoes it is all I can do not to yell “STOP that BOUNCING!” please, for the sake of your health, and the barefoot/ minimalist movement overall, read this book BEFORE you go another day in your five fingers. (BTW, I am 40 and VFFs are all I wear year round since feb 2010, and all my 68 year old father has worn since April 2010, thus fully eliminating his chronic hammertoe.) if your feet hurt, take “time off” and wear padded, supportive shoes, and read this book. Once those sore dawgs heal, start over… You will be thrilled with the results!

  11. Energymonkey says:

    And No, I am not affiliated with Ken Bob or his publisher. I just wish his book had come out before VFFs. It would have saved me lots of pain.

  12. Energymonkey says:

    To (roughly) quote Chris McDougall “If you get blisters in five fingers, you’re running wrong. Try barefoot first.”

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