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!

  • minimalist sandals!

    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Shanna and Kelly's Vineyard 5K in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

Shanna and Kelly's Vineyard 5K in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints
Shanna (on the right) and Kelly (left) don their Vibram fivefinger Sprints after the Vineyard Run (5K race).
Shanna and Kelly's Vineyard 5K in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints
Nice Vibrams! And nice post-race refreshments, too!

I received the above photos from Shanna and Kelly (each sporting Five Finger Sprints) taken after Saturday's Vineyard Run in Grapevine Texas.

Here's what Shanna had to say about the race (And her VFFs):

My friend Kelly and I ran a 5k race at Delaney Vineyards in Grapevine Texas on Saturday! We started running together when Kelly realized she LOVED to run and we've been doing 5ks together since. We make a great team! The Vineyard 5k was our first race in the Vibrams and we couldn't have been more pleased with their performance since we shaved over two and half minutes off last month's time!! We like to think it was due to the Vibrams tendencies toward complete and total awesomeness! In the one picture where you can actually see us, we had just finished the 5k and were enjoying the wine tasting afterwards to celebrate! The second one clearly shows our Vibrams and our choice of wine - mine is a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Kelly's is a 2005 Delaney Estate Merlot. This was without a doubt the best race we've run, both in time and in spirits!

Shanna

Great to hear you both had such a fun and "spirited" race. Post-race wine tasting? Talk about complete and total awesomeness! Looks like it was a pristine day for a race, too.

Thanks for sharing, Shanna and Kelly!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 10/4/09

This week's latest Vibram five fingers reviews:

  • My Take on the Vibram FiveFingers Running Shoes at Michael Hyatt dot com [Classic and KSO]:

    But they look so bizarre. Aren’t you embarrassed to wear them? Yes, they look weird. My kids say they look like “gorilla feet.” I was initially embarrassed, but I got over it. When people make fun of me now, I tell them, “ridicule is the last stage you go through before you order a pair!” I have several friends now running in them who initially laughed.

    I think this is a great point, Michael! Check the rest of his post out for a nice overview of common questions people have about his VFFs!

That's all for this week. Check last week's latest fivefingers reviews for more!

Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Better get those feet on the pedals!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Is that a bit of leafy toe-jam there? No clue how this photo was taken!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
A lot easier to surmount boulders with your mountain bike without hard-soled MTB shoes (or just regular sneakers)!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Nothing like the varied feel of rocky terrain under your VFFed feet!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
And in the event you need to cross a creek, just go right in ...
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
... Soggy Vibrams still work fine!

Lou continues to put his KSOs (and photography skills!) to good use: this time with a friend along to help snap some great fivefinger KSO action shots! Here's Lou describing the ride:

I went mountain biking through the Austin bike trails again. This time around I brought a buddy with me who had just purchased some black KSO's. He was eager to wear them and try them out on the trails. At one point we found a nice area to take the bikes off the trail and down to the creek. I took that opportunity to take a few shots of our little excursion. He loved the shoes and how they performed on the bike and when walking through the creek and trails. We had no problems carrying the bikes on our backs and climbing the rocks with our wet KSOs. I took the bike off the path and through some brush. My toes snagged some leaves from my little off road fun. One picture is of my buddy showing off his new KSO's as he rode past me. We all had a great time. I look forward to more bike trails and hiking in my KSO's.

Great photos, Lou, and thanks for proving that KSOs can be used for mountain biking (just watch out for stumps or small boulders!).

Juergs puts his new KSO Trek fivefingers to the test

Juergs has been training in fivefingers since 2006 when he got his first pair of VFF Classics. Since then, he'd picked up some blue camouflage KSOs. Most recently, Juergs grabbed some of the new fivefinger KSO Treks to use them for his first (pseudo)barefoot ultra — a race he's running this Sunday! Good luck on your race!

Since the Treks are so new, I asked if Juergs would share a few words about how the Treks were performing in his training and he graciously accepted. Below are his photos and running reports:

First impressions of the KSO Treks

First, I got my size 43 on Friday 18th from Summit Hut:

Ah the pristine soles of a brand new pair of Vibram fivefinger KSO Treks.

13 mile trail run 9/20/09

I will be doing a 50K Ultra Trail Race on October 4th and this is the main reason for purchasing the KSO Treks. I have pre-run most of the course and around mile 20 spirits get low from all the stone bruising. I have been running Barefoot since 2006 so the pain is nothing new.

The course features rolling hills, flat stretches, and a killer hill. Almost 300’ of elevation gain in less than 1/2 mile will reduce most folks to walking. We see this hill again on the way back, and the climb is even harder. The course is 60% dirt trails, 30% rocky horse trails, 5% grass, 5% pavement. I believe this is the perfect testing grounds for the Treks.

Top Two things I noticed:

  • 1:00 min to 1:30 mins faster per mile at the same heart rate in the Treks vs the KSO’s
  • Less stone bruising in the Treks vs the KSO’s

Here is GPS data on the run

Pictures after the run:

A thirteen mile trail run and these Treks look great. And how about those injinji socks!

As expected, the KSO Trek soles shrugged off the run like it was nothing.

6 mile run without Injinji socks 9/22/09

I wanted to test out the Treks without my Injinji socks. This trail is a lollypop loop with easy hills, dirt trails, creek crossings, and one knee high stream crossing. This run is for speed at aerobic levels.

I know with my VFF Classics & KSO’s I get a hot spot just before my big toe due to the internal seam. This is no longer an issue with the Treks. I still feel more comfortable with my Injinji socks and find that the Treks are easier to put on with Injinji socks.

The Kangaroo leather does not hold water. They may feel wet to the touch but you won’t be able to squeeze water out of them.

Here is GPS data on the run.

The Treks after some serious stream crossings:

Here we see the KSO Treks after some stream crossing — they've been soaked, but aren't soaking wet.

Another look at wet KSO Treks.

Concluding thoughts on the new fivefingers KSO Treks

After 5 days and 24 miles of testing my new Treks, I donated my trail runners because I know they will now collect cobwebs.

Best of luck on your run Sunday, Juergs!

For more photos of Juergs' VFFed feet (and cool socks), see his Picasa album!

Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics

Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
VFF Classics enjoying the good life on Lake Tahoe!
Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
Nothing like a good belly scratch for your pug compliments of Vibram-clad toes.
Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
VFF Classics in the water: not a problem (But mind they won't float)!

Mark (aka "hobbitfoot" on the forums) sent in the above three photos of his fivefinger Classics-clad feet on "their first vacation" to South Lake Tahoe, California. Mark's comments on the trip are great, so I'll let him take it from here:

Took my VFF Classics out to South Lake Tahoe, California for their first vacation. I was finally able to break them in, adding to the overall comfort, surpassing the blister stage. The Classics worked exceptionally well in (in order of pictures) boating, dog belly scratching, and in the water. I did not have much fear of losing them, as it's a fairly tight fit, even with the Elastic strap loose.

Sand getting inside the Classics from the beach is a tad uncomfy, but a rinse in the water fixed that. There was no dryer, but they air dryed indoors over night. I received no strange looks or approaches, only slight embarrassment from the fiancee and future mother in law. The pug certainly didn't mind them at all.

Good to hear your VFFs had a great time. No doubt your pug is their biggest fan! Thanks, Mark!

Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail

Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail
Martin got a nasty spider-bite causing his right ankle to swell up while hiking the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu (in his grey fivefinger Flows!)

In the mailbag comes the above photo from Martin, who recently took his VFF Flows to Machu Picchu — no minor feat as it took convincing the guides that he'd be okay without ankle support*. It's not often we see the elusive fivefinger Flows. And if you're wondering why Martin's right ankle looks so swollen, well wonder no further:

I bring your attention to my right foot, which if you haven't noticed got a lot bigger than my left on the final day's trek into Machu Picchu. They think I got bitten by a spider. Tourists were so enthralled by my Vibram Five Fingers they didn't even notice my grotesquely, morbidly obese right ankle as they snapped away in glee at my shoes, even at one point making me stand on one foot so they could take pictures of the bottom of my feet. The ankle got a few inches bigger than this before the swelling started to go down. The Inka Trail itself was pretty fun wearing the FiveFinger Flows. My tour guide was actually not going to let me do the hike thinking I would sprain my ankle or something. I told him to give me a chance, and ended up being one of the fastest people. The porters were also highly intrigued by my footwear and I had a lot of curious people ask me how they felt on the hike. Everything was awesome, except downhill in the rain was very tricky. I had to slow down considerably for that so I wouldn't slip, as my feet became quite slippery!

Glad your foot and ankle have recovered. That must have been quite a bite to cause that sort of inflammation! And who would have thought you could camouflage it just by wearing fivefingers! Just one more use for VFFs!

Thanks Martin!

* The more I hear about needing "ankle support" and "arch support," the more I just laugh at how silly people can be. It's as though we'd all be incapable of doing anything but for fancy, constricting and "supportive" shoes or boots! And of course, "studies" need to be done to prove that barefoot running/walking/hiking is safe. Just silly.