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!

Hiking the Sierra Nevada in KSO Treks

Ted and his KSO Treks
Ted on a hike wearing his KSO Treks.

Ted, a veteran hiker and Five Fingers fan, seems to have found relief from Morton's Neuroma by wearing KSO Treks while hiking and sent us his story:

Eleven years ago I became addicted to hiking the high mountains of Southern California and the Sierra Nevada. After a few weeks of long and steep weekend hikes, I began to feel an intense burning sensation in both of my forefeet. I had developed Morton's Neuroma, an inflammation of the nerves that run between the metatarsal heads in the toes.

Wearing really wide shoes somewhat helped but did not eliminate the problem. A week of rest usually made the inflammation disappear, but after an hour or two of uphill hiking it would always reappear.

Once sufficiently inflamed, even standing in enclosed shoes was extremely painful. Only thong sandals or going barefoot would sometimes alleviate the pain. At other times the pain would persist after I'd finished hiking and was trying to get to sleep.

For ten years my ability to hike was constrained by this problem. Then last October I donned my first pair of FiveFingers, the KSO Trek. Since then I have completed dozens of hikes in the mountains and the desert, many on trails with a mile of elevation gain and loss. I have never in this period experienced a return of this symptom, nor had any other significant foot problem. I have also almost completely avoided wearing regular shoes.

Ted

Ted, great to hear that the KSO Treks worked for you and please send us some pictures from your hikes so we can add them to this post.

Sprint Triathlon in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Sprint Triathlon in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Jason doing the East Fork Sprint Triathlon in his brown KSOs.

Jason, a Vibram Five Fingers fan, recently ran in the East Fork Sprint Triathlon in his brown KSOs and sent us this report:

I have enjoyed your site for a while now and love to see all the different things that people do in their Five Fingers, I have a brown pair of KSOs and wear them constantly. This past weekend I raced in them doing a Sprint distance Triathlon, it was great. This race was 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run in that order. The swim was in East Fork Lake in OH and the bike and run were through the rather hilly park including one steep hill coming up from water level to the high ground. I got lots of shouts from the crowd about my shoes and other racers actually talked to me about them during the race.

I wanted so bad to swim in them but the race event people said that it wasn't allowed, so that meant barefoot swim and leaving them at the transition point. The KSOs did fine in the cycling for me I didn't use any straps on the pedals or anything like that, this was my first race so I just wanted to finish and in a decent time. I did figure out one trick on the cycling, after a few miles I would shift my foot to different positions on the pedals, i.e when I really had to pedal hard I would use either the balls of my feet or use the heel and when I was just pacing I would rest mid foot..Overall it was an awesome experience and the KSOs made it so much better. I am planning on another tri event race in Oct, where instead of swimming we canoe, and the run is a trail run, and you can bet my KSO will be getting me around on that one to, unless of course I start collecting other models.

The whole experience was amazing and doing it is KSOs just made it that much better. At the end of the race, my wife even suggested we get Classics for our upcoming anniversary gifts to each other. I think I converted her as well. If I keep with racing, I am going to have to try some Bikilas. So far my KSOs have done days at Disney, hiking trips, hunting trips, crossfit, and now a triathlon. The amazing thing is over a year in them and they look new still.

Jason, thanks for the race report. Over a year and they still look new, that's great! Perhaps you read our Definitive Guide to Cleaning Vibram Five Fingers. :)

Welcome Yahoo Readers!


We experienced a spike in traffic today that appears related to a Yahoo! Shine article entitled, Baring It All: The Barefoot Running Trend. However you have found your way to Birthday Shoes, welcome to our site!

Here is a quick list of heavy hitting content related to barefoot running and Vibram Five Fingers:

Also, check out the section labeled "about those toe shoes ..." in the column to your right for detailed information on each of the Vibram Five Fingers models.

Thanks for visiting!

Saucony Grid Type A4 Racing Flat Review

Saucony Grid Type A4
The Saucony Grid Type A4.

A Minimalist Alternative

Back in April, I started running consistently after about, uh, a 30 year layoff. I learned about barefoot running here on Birthday Shoes and I decided to give it a try. I had tried running on and off through the years, but was an old school heel striker and always gave up due to back and knee pain. These days, when I run "barefoot" in Five Fingers Bikilas I don't have these problems and running is fun again.

Starting out, I focused on taking it slow and developing a proper forefoot strike. All went well for the first couple of months and my perfectly fitting Bikilas are just great. However, due to either pushing myself too hard lately or perhaps the inherent frailty of my middle aged body, I have developed a mild case of achilles tendonitis.

So, what follows is my search for a shoe that I could alternate with my Bikilas to relieve some of the stress on my achilles tendon...

Read the rest of this post »

Relaxing in Vibram Five Fingers Bahamas Style

Relaxing in Vibram Five Fingers Bahamas Style

In the photo above, Paul and Janette enjoy some beach time in their Vibram Five Fingers while on vacation in the Bahamas. Paul sent us this message:

My wife and I, took a trip to the Bahamas this July and of course we brought our VFF's (SPRINT and KSOs). We have been wearing them almost everyday since we got them three months ago. They are great for running but we can't believe how good they are for water sports! We got so many compliments about the shoes. They all wanted to know how to get them and all I said was go to BIRTHDAYSHOES.COM.

Ah, the water sure looks nice. Maybe it is time to organize a Birthday Shoes cruise. Ha, it rhymes! Thanks for the kind words, Paul.

Merrell Barefoot 2011 Collection Sneak Peak!

Merrell Barefoot 2011 Collection Sneak Peak!

Thanks to our friends at The Shoe Mart, we've been given a sneak peak at the upcoming 2011 Merrell Barefoot line-up via some photos they've shared with us. The new Merrell Barefoot's feature a Vibram sole and will come in three varieties each for men and women (The Trail, True, and Tough Glove for men; the Power, Pace, and Pure Glove for women). We take a first look at this line-up after the jump!

» Read about the 2011 Merrell Barefoot line!