Tuesday, May 17, 2011


One of the problems I have had to deal with is knee pain from running. I read Chris McDougal's Born to Run, and it struck a chord with me regarding shoes and running form. Since then I've tried a couple of things.

First, I got some $7 aqua socks from Wal-Mart. I ran the Warrior Dash in those. I ran as far as a 6 mile road run in them. I never had any foot problems. I did, however, have a lot of muscle pain from the ankle to the knee, all around the leg. Also, the muscles in my feet were screaming at me.

I then switched to a cheap set of Fila Skeletoes. They're knock-offs of Vibrams 5-fingers. However, I found them on sale and had a coupon and left with them for $40. I've run quite a bit in these with no problems. However, I would not suggest running near cactus in them.

It's been about two months of running in these types of shoes. I can definitely feel the benefits in my balance and my flat feet aren't so flat anymore.

But what about, "Can definitely feel it?" If you expect it, you'll probably notice it...if you expect it enough! That's the loop hole for snake-oil salesmen.

Well, I keep daily weight with a Wii fit. The Wii fit measures your weight on a balance board. The balance board measures pressure directionally and has a lot of ways to check your balance. This morning, which isn't any longer unusual, I had 100% perfectly distributed weight from left to right. That's because of the toe-shoes.

Beneath the red dot is the trace of your movement as you stood while the balance board recorded things. It's perfectly still. I'm not bragging saying, "Look at my balance!" But, I am saying that I've obtained real results from working out my feet! It's taken some shorter runs and a lot of muscle pain, but the pay off is there.

And the pay off is in running too. I have barely a fraction of the previous knee swelling and no knee pain. I run more lightly on loose terrain (I've broken both ankles and this agility is a big deal).

What's the down side? Well ... the shoes.

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