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Have You Tried the "Barefoot" Running Shoes?

It's National Foot Health Awareness Month, so take care of those feet

 

It seems to me that more and more people have caught on to the health and fitness value of walking. Like drinking water and breathing correctly, can it be that simple? Walking? Really? 

Urban planners and public officials, fitness professionals, health experts and fitness equipment manufacturers are embracing the value of “walkability” as an excellent fitness gateway for people not interested in gym-based, intense forms of physical activity.

So when my brother, a podiatrist, told me that April is “National Foot Health Awareness Month” it seemed to make sense to look into this whole walking exercise trend. Only it’s not a trend. It’s been around forever, or as long as man/woman have been around. 

“Today’s Podiatrist Keeps America Moving” is the public education campaign that the American Podiatric Medical Association has organized to focus on childhood obesity and the role that foot health plays in keeping children moving. 

From Achilles Tendonitis, with its swelling and pain at the back of the leg and heel, to Webbed Toes where the skin fails to separate between the toes, and a dozen ailments in between, the common childhood foot conditions can really hold children back from gaining health through activity. 

Playing basketball, baseball, soccer, football, tennis, running, and ballet all require specialized shoes to keep kids free from serious foot and ankle injuries. What ever happened to plain ‘ole sneakers?

Have you seen the latest “barefoot” running-and-exercise shoe-less, funky-looking five toe, er, shoes? Seems everyone I know has jumped on these, or at least slid into them.

They are supposed to help with back and joint pain, and when you think about the history of humans walking and running barefoot, these barefoot-like inventions may make some sense given the pliability of feet. While foot experts don’t suggest walking around barefoot all day, the minimalist running/exercise trend is surely growing. 

Think about the fact that the modern running shoe was invented about 30 years ago and since then, podiatrists and orthopedists have seen an alarming increase in running-related foot, ankle and knee injuries. So maybe there is something to these all-but-barefoot five-toe fitted wonders.

Podiatrists, thank you all for making us aware of the importance of our foot health this month. We adults commonly face fungal nails, tendinitis, ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, plantar fasciitis, and bromohidrosis (foot odor). And given the fact that one-quarter of all bones in our bodies are in our feet, and most of us walk the equivalent of four and a half times around the earth in our lives, keeping our feet healthy just makes good sense.

 

 

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About This Blog

Edit ModulePsychologist Michael Mantell tackles San Diego’s psychological well-being, from reducing stress and anxiety to creating closer bonds with family to the importance of physical fitness.

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