Kemme Fitness

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A barefoot crosstrainer/runner’s anxiety over a doctor’s appointment

I have been avoiding this doctor’s appointment for weeks. I didn’t want to know what  was wrong with my right foot. Worse than that, I didn’t want the doctor to chastise me for my functional fitness program or my barefoot running, or my barefoot cross training.

There were two issues. The first was an old injury. The inside, top, and bottom of my right foot at the big toe joint has been aching more than it had.

I first noticed it a year and half ago when I wore these Crocs without the straps on the back while doing heavy yard work. I forgot about that this year and I again brought them out to do some digging…a LOT of digging. You know – jumping on the shovel kinda digging. My foot ACHED after that. It started to calm down, but lately it has been hurting more and more.

Is it because I was barefoot?  Am I causing more injury? Or maybe it is because I was running more now that the rest of my body feels great thanks to my new and improved running form?

I can’t give up barefoot running! Could I give up barefoot cross training and go back to shoes? I don’t think so. Arrg!

The second issue was that on this week’s Urban Run I landed funny on a cement pillar and hurt the same foot in the toe webbing area – center foot. With the combination of both issues, I reluctantly made an appointment. I purposefully chose a sports medicine doc. I wanted to hear his opinion of what I do for exercise, but was scared to hear the answer. I had just had a cousin who is a physical therapist call me a “physical therapist’s worse nightmare” by running barefoot. I asked her why and she said I have no arch support.  I again asked why, as in why do I need arch support. She didn’t have an answer and we were unable to finish the conversation due to being in a large, moving crowd. But that’s another story.

Back to my current problem. I kept saying, “Don’t avoid the doctor because what he says may challenge my belief system!”

I mean, really, it is just one doctor’s opinion anyway. And I can’t be pigheaded just because I think barefoot running/cross training is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I needed to go, and with an open mind.

So he looked at my foot and did some X-rays.

Turns out I have Arthritis in that joint. It may not even have anything to do with the Crocs and could just be genetics. It definitely had nothing to do with my barefoot running, other than a mid-foot strike has my foot landing on the exact spot of my arthitis – I know…bad luck.

But the good doc is like, “oh yeah it is so much better to land mid-foot. I call it the Kenyan Stride.”  He likes what he calls “good form running.”  Wow…how nice to hear. His prescription was to ice my joint and to try some minimalist shoes for stuff like Box Jumps and other hard hitting exercises.

Barefoot running?…good to go!  He did acknowledge that there are some folks going barefoot and running too fast and too far early on, causing some calf sprains,etc. But when done right (start with less miles and slow down), he agreed anything that helps get you “good form” running has his blessing.

Now my wife isn’t thrilled I have Arthritis, but I am just excited that for once in my life, my pain has nothing to do with me being clutsy or trying something stupid.  It’s genetics!  Yeah!

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