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an accident waiting to happen

Posted by Leon S. on 3/17/03 at 18:25 (113249)

I was sitting in Central Park this beautiful afternoon jealously watching the joggers go by when a man lugging a large backpack on his shoulders came by running BAREFOOT! I couldn't believe what I saw...and no one was even chasing him.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Mar on 3/17/03 at 19:37 (113253)

I cringe now too especially when I see little kids running barefoot in the street at the shore in the summer. (Although it sure was fun when I did it! But it isn;t worth the price now!) Mar

Re: an accident waiting to happen

AndrueC on 3/18/03 at 12:33 (113325)

Actually if you do a search on the web you will find a large band of people dedicated to going barefoot everywhere (I'm not one though). Risk of damage to feet is frequently questioned and the response is invariably that the foot toughens up and becomes very resistant to damage and in any case is very good at detecting potential damage and avoiding it.

If you think about it it makes sense. Our feet evolved millions of years ago when we ran on all sorts of surfaces and aboriginal hunters still don't wear shoes today. If our feet were seriously susceptible to injury we would have evolved some alternate means of locomotion.

Of course if we all stopped wearing shoes today there'd be problems but I do believe that if you gradually wean yourself off wearing shoes you would have few problems. You might even be better off since PF is I believe a consequence of weak feet.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Leon S. on 3/18/03 at 18:32 (113370)

What bothered me is that I can attribute my PF directly to jogging on the beach twice last summer, barefoot. The day after I did it the 2nd time, I could barely walk to work, I was in so much pain. So to see that guy running in the park ( that's on the main roadway, not a dirt path) was a scary sight.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Rose M. on 3/19/03 at 13:51 (113489)

I have a neuroma in one foot and PF in the other. For a neuroma is is far more comfortable and recommended by the podiatrist and other doctors to go bare foot. Then for the other foot, it is the opposite. Interesting. So if I go barefooted the PF foot hurts more and if I wear shoes the neuroma foot hurst a lot too. I am having surgery on both at the same time soon. Comments?????

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Kathy G on 3/19/03 at 18:35 (113546)

Well, besides wishing you the best, Rose, I don't have any meaningful comments. I do have some encouraging words, though. My sister had a neuroma and had the surgery. She has had very little pain since. Most of the pain she had was due to her refusal to do what the doctor told her to do so she had no one to blame but herself. She had it done maybe three years ago.

I have an 'atypical neuroma' which has been rectified by orthotics. About three years after the neuroma problem, I developed PF. My neuroma, if it is one, doesn't manifest itself in the area that most neuromas do and so the doctor was hesitant to do any surgery. Ironically, as I read your post, I was icing my foot becauase the neuroma, typical or not, has been really hurting the last couple of days. I had an ingrown toenail removed on that foot and somehow that has made the neuroma hurt. Now I need to soak the toe in warm water which is probably going to undo the good of the ice. What a dope! I should have done it in reverse. Oh well, I'll just drag out the peas again.

How long have you had the PF and neuroma? What treatment have you had? How long will you be laid up? You'll need crutches, won't you?

Good luck to you!

Re: an accident waiting to happen

josh s on 3/19/03 at 18:43 (113547)

Going barefoot and jogging on the beach are very different. Jogging in sand is a major pf instigator. The heel sinks in the sand creating a functional ankle equinus. That is, the ankle has to bend much more than usual since the heel is sunk and the foot is then at an upward angle. Unfortunately running requires all of most peoples ankle range of motion as it is, running in sand forces the foot to hyperpronate and places great strain on the pf and other structures. Sprinting in sand of course would not have this effect as the heel never touches while sprinting.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Sharon W on 3/19/03 at 18:46 (113549)

Cool! That's interesting information; thanks for sharing it.


Re: an accident waiting to happen

Ed Davis, DPM on 3/19/03 at 21:49 (113588)


A common question from runners concerns the Olympic runners from Kenya who run barefoot.

Individuals who have spent a large portion of their life barefoot on relatively soft surfaces have well developed intrinsic foot musculature.
Those who we consider to be in relatively good shape often have atrophic intrinsic foot musculature due to being raised in 'modern' countries in which shoes are used on hard surfaces. It would take a long time to bring one's intrinsic pedal muscular development up to that of, say, the Kenyans.

The intrinsic muscles of the foot, for the most part, run parallel to the plantar fascia and, if strong, can take a lot of tension off the fascia. This is really the root cause behind the 'epidemic' of PF in Western countries -- lack of sufficient intrinsic muscle development, or better yet, intrinsic pedal muscle atrophy related to our lifestyle.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Leon S. on 3/21/03 at 18:02 (113803)

I was not running on the soft sand but the hard sand at the waters edge.

Re: an accident waiting to happen

Lara t on 3/25/03 at 09:51 (114435)

That makes sense. When I was first (incorrectly) diagnosed with PF (I have TTS) I was told not to go barefoot - unless I happen to be in the sand. I've thought of making a sand pit in my backyard for infinity pacing. Is there a difference between walking or running in the sand?

Re: an accident waiting to happen

john h on 3/26/03 at 19:08 (114717)

Lara: I think most would agree that running or walking in the sand not to be a very good idea. I think barefoot would be even worse. Before PF I went for a 5 mile jog down the beach barefoot. Really a very bad mistake. About an hour later the bottom of my feet were totally black as the sand had acted just like sand paper. I was in sorry shape for a while.