The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground — The Buddha.
Over the last several months I have been experiencing trouble with my feet and ankles. It started when I tried a different pair of shoes that I did not normally where. You see I had been wearing the same kind of shoe for years with some bothersome small problems but nothing that kept me from doing what I wanted to.
After changing brands I have had nothing but tendonitis, sprained ankles foot pain and the like. After a lot of reading and research about feet and exercises for them I stumbled upon an idea that was new to me. Minimalist footwear.
What is minimalist footwear you might ask? There are a few companies that I am aware of and probably several that I have yet to discover that make “shoes” that have a minimum of cushioning between you and the ground. For instance I have bought a pair of the Vibram Five finger shoes. There is a pocket for each toe with 4mm thick soles between you and the ground. They are very comfortable and weigh almost nothing.
After one day here is the verdict…no foot or ankle pain. You see mankind has walked for something like two million years without shoes. We have isolated ourselves from our food supply, our natural exercise patterns and touching the Earth. Just wearing these very interesting shoes did one thing that I knew they would do.
They made me more aware of my environment. You have to pay better attention to where you are putting your feet so you don’t step on something that could hurt you or stub your toes. The irony of this whole situation with my feet is that taking away cushion instead of adding to it or going to see the podiatrist and spending hundreds of dollars for inserts has made me not only feel better instantly upon putting them on, but has saved me a lot of money in the meantime.
My journey into Paleolithic eating has helped to open my mind into the patterns of behavior that made humans healthy long before there were things like fast foods, television, radio or computers. People were just people. They took the time to walk slower and were more aware of the environment than we are today.
Give it a try and experience some grounding for yourself, take off your shoes and walk outside try different surfaces to walk on and don’t be afraid of hurting yourself. The human body is smart enough to not let that happen if you are patient and listen to how you feel. I am already starting to walk differently and it is wonderful to not have the ever-present pain in my feet that I have been living with for months now.
When was the last time that you took any notice of your feet? Take good care of them, just like you would your face. Both will carry you through a lifetime in different ways and will always be with you.