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Vibram Five Fingers and a Rock Wall June 7, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Shoes, Thoughts , add a comment

Last Saturday, we went to the carnival at Pony Express Days 2010 in Eagle Mountain, UT.  Of course, I wore my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs).  I would have been barefoot, but I just don’t think it would have been the best environment . . . I’m into going barefoot, but not that much.  Plus, I don’t think they would have let me on all the rides without my shoes.

Just before we left, I noticed a rock wall.  After watching a few people attempt the climb with the highest difficulty, I noticed something on top of the cable support.  A $20 bill.  If you climb the route, hit the bell, and reach the $20 . . . it’s yours.

I thought it was worth the $5 for the fun of the climb and two chances to make $15.  I learned a few things.

  1. If you’re going to make it to the $20, be in good climbing shape.
  2. Make sure you get it on the first attempt as you won’t be as fresh on the second attempt.
  3. I’m glad I’ve been working on my foot/toe strength as the VFFs don’t quite offer the same support as climbing shoes.

All in all, they worked well as climbing shoes.  The rubber isn’t quite as sticky as climbing shoes, but they certainly would work in a pinch if you needed to shimmy up the side of a cliff.

. . . oh, and I didn’t quite make it to the cash, but I did ring the bell. 🙂

Why Your Kids Should Be Barefoot June 4, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Health, Shoes, Thoughts , add a comment

Personally, I don’t remember going barefoot all that much as a kid.  I know I did my fair share, but I can’t say I ran around barefoot all my childhood.  In fact, I remember one instance as a child where my mom took me with her to my grandmother’s house to pick some apricots.  The lawn in the very back part of this property was pretty much all crabgrass.  It was stiff and I remember being barefoot on that specific occasion.  It hurt!  Obviously my feet were not used to running around barefoot all day.  Had my feet been conditioned by being predominantly barefoot, it wouldn’t have been a problem for me to traipse around sans shoes.

In 1992 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Rao & Joseph completed a study entitled The Influence of Footwear on the Prevalence of Flat Foot.  It was a survey of 2,300 children between the ages of four and 13.  This was their result:

The incidence among children who used footwear was 8.6% compared with 2.8% in those who did not (p < 0.001). Significant differences between the predominance in shod and unshed children were noted in all age groups, most marked in those with generalised ligament laxity. Flat foot was most common in children who wore closed-toe shoes, less common in those who wore sandals or slippers, and least in the unshod.

Our findings suggest that shoe-wearing in early childhood is detrimental to the development of a normal longitudinal arch.

For me, that pretty much sums it up.  I know there are a lot of hazards out there for barefooted children, but I personally consider it worthwhile to keep a vigilant lookout for hazardous material in order to allow them to develop properly.

Listen to your soles!


Rao, Udaya B., and Benjamin Joseph. “THE INFLUENCE OF FOOTWEAR ON THE PREVALENCE OF FLAT FOOT.” The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 74-B.4 (1992): 525-27. Print.

Another Mile Barefoot June 3, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Advantages of Barefoot Running, Health, Running, Shoes, Thoughts , add a comment

Yesterday, I did a lot of sitting as I’m studying quite a bit.  My feet were feeling it.  My body was screaming at me that I needed to get moving.  I felt like I had been on a 15 hour bus ride and hadn’t gotten up to walk around that much . . . yeah, my feet were swollen.  So, this morning after I got up I promised myself that I’d get out for a run today.  I did!  I decided to try the route of the 5K I ran Monday.  I’m still a bit spent from Monday’s race, so I only got in a mile, but I did it with my favorite shoes . . . my feet.

I’m noticing changes in my feet as I continue running without shoes.  My calluses are getting thicker, I can feel the increasing strength in all my foot muscles, and I believe the subcutaneous fat pads are getting thicker as well.  It’s actually very comfortable running without shoes.  The best part about all these changes . . . they didn’t cost me a penny!  (Great for the budget of a recently graduated medical student . . . looking forward to earning an income.)

Have fun with your feet!

I’m Done! May 28, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Life, Thoughts , 1 comment so far

I hate to make this post all about me, but today is a very special day for me.  I completed medical school today and NEVER have to go back.  The road has been long.  The road has been tough.  The experiences were varied, but I’m glad I’m done.  To keep this somewhat relevant to the blog, I can also say I walked a significant portion of this road barefoot.  Besides stumbling into barefoot running during the last leg of my medical school journey, on the island I was quite often barefoot around the house.

Life is good!  Now it’s on to residency.

“Barefoot” in The O.R. May 27, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Life, Thoughts , 2comments

Today was the last time I will ever scrub in for surgery as a medical student (two days left and I leave that title behind) . . . and since I’m going into Psychiatry, I’ll probably never scrub in again.  I took the opportunity to have another almost barefoot experience.  I wore my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) in the O.R. today.  Of course, they were covered up by shoe covers, but the experience was reaffirming.

I’ve written extensively on the feedback your body receives when you are barefoot or nearly barefoot.  This feedback is essential to being more in touch with the environment around you.  Increased balance and increased awareness of your body are a couple benefits.

Here is my experience.  If I can’t be barefoot and I can get away with it, I wear my VFFs.  I love wearing them around.  They are most certainly a conversation starter, and I love sharing my passion about barefooting.  I noticed something throughout the day.  Normally I begin feeling my feet hurt in the later part of the day which would last all night, I noticed periodically that one foot would ache a bit which signaled me to shift my weight . . . I would stand in a different way.  This happened repeatedly throughout the day.  What I notice looking back over the day is that my feet don’t feel like I’ve been standing on hard, shiny, operating room floors all day.

By allowing my arches and feet to do their job and tell me how I should be standing, I didn’t end up having painful feet at the end of the day.  It’s not going to win me a Nobel Prize, but this experience is certainly one that is very supportive of the barefoot life . . . allowing your body to function as it should.

Enjoy your soles!