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

Vibram Five Fingers Sole Repair Using Shoe Goo

Guest post by Chad

It was an unhappy day when I threw out my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSO shoes. I had gotten them for Christmas in 2008 and they served me faithfully throughout many miles of running in 2009, including the Hatfield & McCoy Marathon. By fall the soles had gotten thin to the point where a hole developed in the left one. I tried patching it with a bicycle tube repair kit, but that fell off after only a few miles of running.

Chad's worn KSOs with a hole that needs to be filled in.

When my next pair of KSOs showed signs of wearing out I resolved to come up with a solution. While wandering through a local sporting goods store I picked up a tube of Shoe Goo adhesive. I had used Shoe Goo many years ago, when I played high school tennis to keep my shoes in usable condition.

The Process

It turns out that Shoe Goo works terrifically well in rebuilding the thin spots of Five Fingers' soles. Application is as easy as spreading peanut butter onto a slice of bread.

  1. Read the directions. Clean the area before applying.

  2. Use a coffee stirrer or tongue depressor to spread the Shoe Goo.

  3. Apply over the area in a medium thickness.

If you want to apply an additional layer, wait a couple of hours or more then apply as before. The manufacturer’s website says to allow 24 to 72 hours to cure completely, but I’ve found that overnight will suffice.

I’m happy that I’ve found an inexpensive way to extend the life of my KSOs and will use Shoe Goo on my other Fivefinger models, including my Classics, KSO Treks, and Flows.

About the Author —

Chad is a long time contributor to BirthdayShoes.com. Here are some of his previous posts:

Thanks for the "How To" Chad!

Vibram Five Fingers Help with Plantar Fasciitis

Vibram Five Fingers Help with Plantar Fasciitis
John running in a local Turkey Trot and trail running in the Coronado Mtns, AZ.

John sent us the following story about how Vibram Five Fingers have helped him solve his plantar fasciitis problems:

Listen up kiddos. I have major feet problems, plantar fasciitis and the Army gave me inserts, which gave me stress fractures. Told me I was limited to 1/2 mile runs. You never know how much you miss running till you can't do it any longer.

A good friend and workout buddy had some Sprints on, and yeah I made fun of him. He told me to check them out, so I went on the web and hit up this site along with reading the pros and cons of barefoot running techniques. Started with the Classics, broke my feet in slowly, worked my way up to a pair of Treks, did some trail running in them out in AZ up in the mountains (Coronado), and felt like a kid again. Had to not really teach myself how to run, but to remind my body and feet to do forefoot strikes. Came back home and went crazy and bought the Bikilas and Sports.

I was having to do a walking PT test, and it sucked. Now that I am running again, I freakin' crushed the other guys in my unit out of no where on our last test. I do 8 miles about once a week and then do regular short runs of 3 miles about 3 days a week, and try to do a 5K every weekend. Get this, I've actually been placing in the top 3 sometimes and always the top 10 in my age group (40). This time last year I wasn't going more then 1 mile without pain. These shoes have made such a difference in my physical condition it's crazy.

John's hints for newbies:

  • read reviews
  • get one pair to work into and get your feet use to them slowly
  • get your second pair and rotate them out daily, I never wear regular shoes any longer except my work boots
  • get some foot powder/spray and powder your feet daily and spray the shoes
  • throw them in the washer every so often otherwise they will get funky, but don't machine dry them, hang them out
  • be prepared for questions from people you don't even know. If we all work together, this might just change the world!

I'm doing 5K races like crazy, starting to do 10Ks this month, and I feel like a teenager running from 5-10k in the Vibrams.

Much Love and Happiness

Thanks for the testimonial John! Sounds like you've had great results eliminating your plantar fasciitis pain and are running some really fast times.

New Balance NB Minimus Trail Review

The NB Minimus Trail running shoe in orange.  This is a wear test pair provided by New Balance to test out and share with BirthdayShoes.com readers!
The NB Minimus Trail running shoe in orange. This is a wear test pair provided by New Balance to test out and share with BirthdayShoes.com readers!

If you haven't yet heard (and you're comfy as can be living under a rock somewhere!), New Balance is releasing a new line of minimalist footwear in Spring 2011 under the brand NB Minimus. The NB Minimus line includes a road running shoe, a trail running shoe, and a "wellness" shoe for everyday or general fitness wear. The fine folks at New Balance are providing us with a sneak peak at these minimalist shoes by way of wear test pairs — last week Britt posted his initial review of the NB Minimus Road running shoe, and today, below, is an initial review of the New Balance NB Minimus Trail.

More after the jump!

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