Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

I recently got the above photo from Ron. Ron is a 60+ guy who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee—after some 32 years of running.

What follows is his story about what the doc's had to say about how he should handle the news, and as you might guess, some FiveFingers came into the picture:

I call this my victory photo.

Last year, at age 60, and after 32 years of running, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the left knee. It hurt to walk, let alone, run. My general practitioner doctor suggested minimalist footwear as part of a program that included stretching and strengthening. [Meanwhile, both the] knee specialist and the physical therapist said to back off and use orthotics.

I took my general practitioner's advice.

Well, here I am a year later, relaxing at over 14,000 feet on the top of Mount Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains. This was just one of several hikes I took during a 6-day vacation. I totalled nearly 35 miles of hiking and every step in my Vibram KSO Treks.

I proved to myself that I wasn't too old to make such a big change after 32 years of walking and running in the most expensive and most cushioned shoes. Of course, I still have osteoarthritis in the knee, but I am back at it, thanks to the therapeutic value stretching, strengthening, and minimalist footwear.

(I go barefoot alot, too!)

Ron A.

Fantastic to hear, Ron! And kudos for following your intuition and having success despite adverse conditions.

Hope you have many more successful hikes!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 12/06/09

This week's latest FiveFingers reviews:

  • Vibram Five Fingers at Life, by Adam Kayce [Sprint]:

    [video:vimeo:7920232]

    Think about it: for millions of years, we’ve been barefoot. How were we able to run after mastodons, trek over mountains, and still survive if we hobbled along, muttering, “Ouch! Ooch! Oaff!” every time we stepped on a rock? Because we didn’t, that’s why. When you go barefoot, your feet adapt. The ligaments, tendons, and musculature of your feet are strengthened by walking and running barefoot. It’s the wearing of shoes that weakens your feet, by doing the work that your feet should be doing for themselves.

    I hike in the mountains wearing these shoes, and four days a week, I do my CrossFit workouts in them. Whether I’m Olympic lifting, sprinting, or doing any of the myriad of exercises I do in CF and the M.E.B.B. protocol I follow, I haven’t had any problems doing them in my VFF’s.

    Adam's also got a video up on doing dead lifts in his VFFs. Good stuff!

You can read last week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews here.

Getting the Family Christmas Tree in KSOs

Getting the Family Christmas Tree in KSOs
Alan's KSO Five Fingers make it easy to get down and dirty and harvest a Christmas tree!
Getting the Family Christmas Tree in KSOs
Alan and family pause for a shot next to their tree!

Alan sent in the above photos taken recently on a trip to get a Christmas tree:

Here is a recent photo of me harvesting a Christmas tree near Highlands, NC while wearing my black Fivefinger KSOs. I have been running in the KSOs for about 2 months and recently completed my first 5k in them ... I am definitely hooked.

Alan
Greenville, SC

Great looking family, Alan, and I'm happy to hear you're enjoying your newfound foot freedom!

Feelin' the Flow: Chris runs the Richmond Marathon in VFF Flows

Note that midfoot strike — Chris runs the Richmond Marathon in his Vibram Five Finger Flows
Note that midfoot strike — Chris runs the Richmond Marathon in his Vibram Five Finger Flows
Thanks to the neoprene in the Flow Five Fingers, Chris is able to keep his feet warm but still minimally shod for his marathon!
Thanks to the neoprene in the Flow Five Fingers, Chris is able to keep his feet warm but still minimally shod for his marathon!
Post-race Chris wraps up to stay warm amidst temperatures in the 40s!
Post-race Chris wraps up to stay warm amidst temperatures in the 40s!

The photos above were sent in by Chris, who recently ran the Richmond Marathon in Flow Five Fingers. Though Flows are probably the least represented VFFs in the community, they're starting to get more attention as the seasons are changing and Five Fingers fans seek out a bit more foot warmth!

Here's Chris on the marathon:

Hey Justin,

I thought I'd send in some pictures from the Richmond Marathon I ran recently in my VFF Flows. It was really an awesome experience, from answering around a million questions about my "shoes" to being back on the road running taking only 2 days rest! I ran my first marathon last year in road shoes and got achilles tendonitis so switching to VFFs was a welcome relief. As for the Flows (a unique present from my girlfriend), I notice that people wear them much less than the other types, but on the 45 degree rainy morning of the race, they were nothing less than perfect. After 3 hours and 43 minutes, everything felt great and I can't wait to run another in them! Thanks for putting together such an amazing site -

Chris

Thanks for sharing, Chris! Nice time and good to hear that VFFs are enabling you to run injury-free. That your girlfriend hooked you up with your Flows — well, I'll just say that she might be worth hanging on to!

VFF Joggling the Philadelphia Marathon with Joe Salter

Essential equipment for having a truly unique marathon experience: KSO Five Fingers and balls for joggling — an intriguing combination of running or jogging and juggling!
Essential equipment for having a truly unique marathon experience: KSO Five Fingers and balls for joggling — an intriguing combination of running or jogging and juggling!
Mid-race we see Joe juggling and running the Philadelphia Marathon!
Mid-race we see Joe juggling and running the Philadelphia Marathon!
Joe hit a new marathon PR of 3:31, joggling the race in his Five Fingers.
Joe hit a new marathon PR of 3:31, joggling the race in his Five Fingers.

I got the above photos from Joe Salter who recently ran the Philadelphia Marathon in his KSO Five Fingers joggling. Joggling is a combination of running and juggling and according to Wikipedia, "Jogglers say that the arm motions of juggling with three objects feels natural with the action and pace of jogging."

Joggling is a fascinating niche for runners and this is the first time I've heard of anyone running a marathon in Five Fingers while joggling.

Here's Joe on both joggling and the marathon:

On November 22nd, 2009 I "joggled" the entire 26.2 miles of the Philadelphia Marathon while wearing my VFF KSO's. Joggling is the fringe sport/activity that combines juggling and running/jogging. This was my 3rd marathon, but my first for joggling in the KSO's. I've been joggling in the VFF KSO's for around 3 months. For more information on joggling, go to: justyouraveragejoggler.com or my YouTube channel.

Race Highlights:

Set a PR finish time of 3:31 (15 minutes faster than my previous marathon in regular shoes with joggling, and 21 minutes faster than my first marathon in shoes without joggling)

I got questions and nice comments about the KSO's before the race; but during the race people only focused on the "joggling." Joggling kinda steals the attention from the VFF's during a race ...

Legs felt great joggling in the VFF KSO's. Met one other runner wearing KSO's during the race.

Three Jogglers (Two juggling three balls, and one juggling five balls) were in the full Marathon, thus setting a record for the most amount of jogglers in a marathon.

Best Regards,

Joe Salter
Pensacola, Florida

Way to be a VFF joggling pioneer, Joe! I wonder if joggling is starting to take off? Thanks for sharing your Five Fingers joggling experience with BirthdayShoes!

You can read more about Joe via this joggling interview he gave.

Finally, "Zataod" has a blogged dedicated to barefoot joggling. Check it out at Zen and the Barefoot Joggler.

Josh and Barrett Hike Ransom Canyon

Josh and Barrett hiked Ransom Canyon in Texas in their KSO Vibram Five Fingers.
Josh and Barrett hiked Ransom Canyon in Texas in their KSO Vibram Five Fingers.
Having conquered the canyon, Josh and Barret raise their VFF-shod feet into the air!
Having conquered the canyon, Josh and Barret raise their VFF-shod feet into the air!

Josh submitted the above photos of a recent hike at Ransom Canyon, which is near Lubbock, Texas. Josh hiked with his friend Barrett — they were sporting their Vibram Five Fingers KSO (Grey and Palm and Black, respectively).

No doubt the VFF-shod feet were loving such a gnarly terrain!

Matt Runs a Thanksgiving 5K in his Flow VFFs

Matt gets ready to race a 5K in his black Flow Five Fingers on Thanksgiving morning.
Matt gets ready to race a 5K in his black Flow Five Fingers on Thanksgiving morning.
Matt Runs a Thanksgiving 5K in his Flow VFFs
Looks like it was a foggy morning in Shelby, North Carolina!
Looks like it was a foggy morning in Shelby, North Carolina!

Matt emailed in the above photos taken this past Thursday morning: he ran a 5K in his Flow Five Fingers. Here's Matt:

Hey!!!

I ran a 5K in my VFF Flows on Thanksgiving morning in Shelby, North Carolina. Out of over 600 participants, I was the only one in VFFs! These pictures were taken by my mom and sister at the race. Finished with a decent time and had a great time running with everyone else in their sneakers!! Love these shoes for cold-weather running and I have a pair of Sprints for warmer running.

Thanks for having such a great site! I look at it all the time and it's great to have a website like this where all of us VFFers can see others with the same awesome shoes!

Sounds like you've got a nice one-two punch for year-round VFF running! It's not often we see Flows, so thanks for sharing!

And glad to be of assistance to the Five Fingers fan community!

Update: Matt sent in a couple few more photos from a hike he took earlier this year in his VFF Sprints:

Matt poses on a hike in the Appalachian Mountains near Boone, North Carolina!

I went on a day of hiking in the Appalachian Mountains up near Boone, NC (where i go to college.... Go App!!) with my family earlier this semester and enjoyed all of the beautiful scenery and great views in my VFF Sprints. I sure got some weird looks by people passing by and lots of questions about what the heck i had on my feet and why i would ever hike in them, including people from my own family!! It was a lot of fun and i can't wait for warmer weather to do it again soon!!
Enjoying the VFF-view!