Five years ago, living in Capitol Hill, I developed a problem with my left foot. It hurt to walk. Sometimes. Depending on what shoes I wore and how much I walked in them. It took me about two years to finally get it checked out and I was told I had a neuroma and there was crap the orthopedic surgeon could do about it. Oh, and don’t wear pointy high heeled shoes. As if my size 10 feet EVER looked good in pointy shoes of any heel height. And as if I actually cared about fashion. Especially my shoes. I just like my feet to not look humongous.
Last year, with fabulous health insurance finally, I went in to see the podiatrist associated with my HMO. He confirmed that I did indeed have a neuroma on my left foot, but did I also know that I also had hammer toes on both my feet, and corns, and and bunions? Gee, thanks. His suggestion was orthotics. I got fit for them. They helped. Sort of. Maybe.
About a month and a half ago I decided to jump on the Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) bandwagon to see if they helped any of my foot issues. Surely if running in them helps you, then perhaps my simple feat of walking in them would also help (I don’t run, for anything). A fabulous shop here in town, Berkeley Running Company, has a large selection of Vibrams and they are knowledgeable about how to fit them. I ended up with a pair of gray Classic Smartwool Five Fingers and I’ve been wearing them pretty much since. To the point that someone I worked with for the last month remarked that he didn’t believe that I owned any other shoes as he’d never seen me wear anything other than my VFF.
So here we are a month and a half later, and WOW! I can not believe the change in my feet. For starters, my neuroma NEVER bothers me when I’m wearing the VFF. So suck it lack of support. But honestly, the coolest thing is what I can now do to my foot:
A few years ago, I remember talking to a friend about my foot woes. She mentioned that in her prenatal yoga class they always did special foot techniques since pregnant women have so many problems with their feet. One of them is to ‘simply’ slide your fingers between your toes and flex around and generally stretch things about. I gave it a try. It was full of fail. Not only could I not get all my fingers through, I couldn’t even get some of my fingers through. I’ve tried many times since, but never made much progress. Until now. That picture? Is of my left (the one with the neuroma) and my right hand with ALL of my fingerS ALL the way through my toes. For the first time ever!!
And honestly, my feet in general bother me much less than they used to. And wearing regular shoes is now almost pure torture. I’m in the midst of taking a basic woodworking and we have to wear traditional close toed shoes (which I agree with and you’ll hear no arguments from me about that rule, I’d rather have unhappy feet than no feet). My feet scream every Wed night at me now. They are miserable in my sneakers, despite their wide toe box. The first week I wore my sneakers just like I did at the beginning of summer. Then I ditched the orthotics. Now I lace them as loosely as I can and just deal with it the best I can. Tomorrow? Back my VFFs :)
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