Cushioning needed for pavement and concrete?

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by fishugly, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. fishugly

    fishugly
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    For casual walking in town, on concrete and pavement, is cushioning needed in "barefoot" shoes....or more specifically, Soft Star Dashes?



    Before the industrial age, where the primary surface was dirt and or grass, I could see where going barefoot would be desirable for optimum health. However, it would seem these modern day hard surfaces could be damaging to the body. Admittedly, I really don't know and am just speculating.

    I like the idea of allowing the foot to move naturaly without the constraint of shoes but going without is not practical for me hence the inquiry on the Dashes. If there are other shoes, that would be suitable for casual wear (not look to goofy), I'd appreciate hearing about them as well. Additionally, if there's a website that can help a newbie like myself learn more about "barefooting", I'd appreciate that too.

    Thanks!
     
  2. miker

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    Merrell Tough Glove. Brown

    Merrell Tough Glove. Brown leather that works well for work & casual.



    And you just found the website that will help you. Be sure to check out the library. And just ask questions as you think of them.



    Cheers!
     
  3. Abide

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    I've thought about this as

    I've thought about this as well, but have decided that surface hardness really doesn't matter. In fact you may be better off being barefoot on a hard surface than in shoes. For me the convincing argument is that your feet and body are capable of developing the appropriate strength, toughness and gait that are required to be barefoot almost anywhere, with the exception being extreme heat and cold. From my experience I believe that shoes, even the most minimal, can counteract these adaptations and ulitimately hurt you more than the minor issues related to being barefoot.
     
  4. Barefoot TJ

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    I'm not a doctor, so

    I'm not a doctor, so hopefully the docs will respond here to your question soon, but from what I understand is that humans have walked on hard surfaces since the beginning. Most people tend to switch to a "heel strike" when walking, whether barefoot or not. When barefoot, we also tend to bend our knees when walking over difficult, hard, or harsh terrains. This helps to lessen the impact.
     
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  5. JosephTree

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    Abide, I agree up to a

    Abide, I agree up to a point. I don't think any sort adaption is going to make my feet safe for Multiflora Rose infested trails.
     
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  6. mokaman

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     I tend to run more on

    I tend to run more on pavement when my feet need a little relief from trail running...and smooth concrete sidewalk stuff is really easy running. The only issue I see with concrete or pavement is that it makes you run almost too even and repetitious...I think we do better with varied terrain...if your worried about it just make sure you mixup your running surfaces.

    Footwear is only really needed for warmth and to keep pointy things from poking your feet on some trails...generally I stop running pavement and switch to shoes and almost all trail running from Dec till March or whenever its below 40F.... your not going to learn to run barefoot from Barefoot Shoes no matter what the surface is.

    As far as goofy footwear there is pleny...I wear casual shoes everyday to work and have found several kinds I like but I don't run in any of these. ..other than these for work I wear flip flops into stores.

    Onitsuka Tai Chi shoes in Black with white stripes

    Converse Chuck Taylors Slim version, remove the insoles

    Feiyue marshial arts shoes, they have a curved sole that quickly wore down to flat

    Earth shoes, most are too clunky but I have an old pair I still wear

    Arrow brand moccasins...these are great, I even ran a marathon in them but all moccasins wear out fast on pavement/concrete.
     
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  7. shock.absorber

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    This is why your body has

    This is why your body has natural shock absorbers - hips, knees, ankles, mid foot. So the surface "hardness" is not really relevant. Common question I hear though, but our bodies were well engineered.
     
  8. fishugly

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    Thanks to all! Very, very

    Thanks to all! Very, very helpful.



    I looked at the other shoes mentioned. I like the looks of most...particularly the Merrells...at least for a casual shoe. However, I'm drawn to the Soft Stars....namely the newer Dash. I like the idea that they're handmade in a small shop in Oregon with USA materials. But, like some of the other shoes, they're not cheap...and I hate to plop down twice what I'd normally spend for something that doesn't hold up. Do they last longer than what I have imagined in my mind? Looks like they'd wear relatively quickly...but I have not seen them in person. Any other opinions on the Dash?



    Also, back at my original question. I asked as it seems that hard surfaces make my lower body joints ache...particularly with shoes that don't have a lot of cushion. Perhaps it's in my head...or the way I'm walking. I practice a traditional Karate twice a week on a wood floor, barefoot, and that seems to bother my joints as well. The other 4-5 days/wk I practice, I do so on my lawn, or inside on carpet during the winter, and it feels far better on my feet and joints. Perhaps I'm not using my lower body as it was intended due to having worn shoes all my life. Would love to hear some opinions.
     
  9. Barefoot TJ

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    I think if you would try

    I think if you would try running barefoot outside more often on hard, flat surfaces, you will teach yourself pretty quickly how to step lightly, gently, which will lessen your impact and decrease the load on your joints. Karate is a different animal altogether though. There's a lot of movement that causes more impact, not to say you can't teach yourself how to move more gently. Take parkour, for example, some of those guys are doing it barefoot ONLY because they have learned how to do it more gently. I think it's a training thing; you must truly listen to your body and get in tune with your steps.
     
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  10. Barefoot TJ

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    About repetition... I happen

    About repetition... I happen to believe that all surfaces are great for learning "something" about running, but only hard, flat surfaces will teach you how to run properly through repetition. I like to say that you can't learn a lesson when the answer changes with every footfall.
     
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  11. miker

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    TJ, I totally agree. I just

    TJ, I totally agree. I just ran a 5 mile trail run without any blisters or hotspots. Did get some bruising, but that's a story for another day. ;-)

    But whenever I run on asphalt or concrete, as soon as I start getting a little tired, my forms starts slipping, and I can feel the hotspots coming on. And, since that usually happens way before I want to be finished, sometimes will end up with a blister. :p

    No question in my mind that hard surfaces give the best, "consistent" feedback.

    Cheers!
     
  12. Dr. Mark

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    Great question with a real

    Great question with a real simple answer....adapt to get rid of the cushion in your walking shoes. This shoes like Vivo Barefoot. Kigo and Stem are great for town and work and give the feet good daily exercise and function. i walk more than i run so the strengthening in the workday is critical to make the running healthy and easy.

    My friend Pete Larson did a nice blog on this yesterday...www.runblogger.com



    Dr. Mark
     
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  13. fishugly

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    Thanks to Dr. Mark and the

    Thanks to Dr. Mark and the others for the helpful replies!
     
  14. Dr James Stoxen DC

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    Fishugly (fun name)  the

    Fishugly (fun name) :) the human body is designed as a natural spring mechanism capable of withstanding high force impacts on very hard surfaces as long as these three components are in place:
    [*]The human spring mechanism must be released completely to be able to absorb the impact of the landing into the spring mechanism[*]The human spring mechanism must be strong enough to withstand the force of the impact which is your weight times the speed that you are moving. It boils down to Newton's law which is F = M x A Since your mass will never change (unless you grab a burger on the trail, or carry a backpack or weights during running---- wait a minute shoes have weight!!!!) then it's the speed that you are moving which determines the force of the impact upon landing.
    Studies have found that running actually does not use as much muscles as we think and in fact running involves more of a spring action that is built into primarily the connective tissue. What we understand from studies is that muscles actually can develop within weeks whereas connective tissue takes 20 to 30 weeks or more to develop.

    What happens with barefoot runners is that they don't understand that the impact resistance of running on concrete or hard pavements actually comes from the strength of the connective tissue and not the muscles. Therefore they feel that they can run with higher speeds on these hard surfaces within weeks and be safe with these impacts when in fact they are not ready for it yet even though they have no pain at the time of the run.

    Your body will begin to adapt with connective tissue strength after several months of barefoot running. However if we understand that we would be insane to go to the gym and our first workout pick up (2) 100 pound dumbbells and do curls or bench press with these weights the same thing applies to the amount of force that were to take up with their joints during movement with our lower extremities. We feel our muscles can handle it but there is NO way the connective tissue can handle it that soon so we have breakdown of the spring mechanism.

    So an interesting formulate you might want to try is to begin to absorb impacts into your spring mechanism with
    • "spring" walking (when you bounce the mass into the forefoot spring you may get "some" connective tissue strengthening.
    • then faster walking with spring in the forefoot
    • then light jogging with spring impact in the forefoot
    • then jogging with the muscles of the shins completely relaxed just bouncing off the tendon elasticity and not using muscles.
    • Then running
    All the time you are preparing the body with these drills you are spring walking, jogging and eventually running in zigzag patterns, circular patterns and other movement patterns outside of just a straight range to develop the connective tissue in all ranges of motion to strengthen the suspension system of this three dimensional human spring.

    When I first started barefoot running, my first barefoot run took a long time. I started running training on the solid concrete of the lake front of Chicago. I knew that my science was correct in my form and technique had to be perfect in order to be able to accomplish this feat of running and solid concrete.

    I also knew that in order to absorb the impacts of this solid concrete into my human spring mechanism that the human spring mechanism of my body had to be completely released. I spent a full week doing deep tissue on myself in my living room hitting all the spring suspension system muscles, the intrinsic muscles of the feet, the muscles of the TFL and the hip abductors as well as the external hip muscles with my hands to release them every day for at least an hour two. Because I prepared for several weeks by releasing my human spring mechaniums with deep tissue in the support muscles and strengthened the spring suspension system with resistance training for several weeks my confidence level was high that I was not going to get hurt by doing this barefoot running.

    I don't remember you mentioning that you do this before you do your karate class or you're walking on concrete or barefoot running. So from what I can see what's missing in your training regime is the preparation of your human spring mechanism to be able to absorb the force of the impacts into this mechanism.

    We sometimes forget that before we were allowed to participate in the competition in grade school and highschool we had to do several weeks of training and practice which included various drills stretching and other preparatory activities to prepare our bodies for this high-level impact activities. Professional athletes train before preseason and preseason drills are certainly grueling to say the least but it is the preparation for the competition.

    Nowadays all we do is the competition. What I see from the runners in Chicago is that they're running straight ahead down the path and then they'll turn around and head back the other way back in their car and go home. I call that the competition. The training should be to release the human spring, strengthen the spring suspension system muscles and supercharge the human spring connective tissues.

    We should also develop the body in all ranges of motion as it is a three-dimensional object that moves in multiple directions and has muscles that have to be developed from all different directions in order for it to be able to load the mass directly perpendicular without any breakdown in the structure upon the force of the landing. What I see is athletes developing the take off muscles and not the landing muscles. That is like putting engines on a plane to make it go 600 MPH instead of 450 MPH but not putting a stronger landing gear on the plane to absorb the force of the landing at higher speeds. I call that a misunderstaning of human engineering.

    We make these blanket statements that well is it right to walk on concrete without her shoes on or is it wrong? Should we wear shoes or should we not? These are not questions that we ask but rather the question to ask is how can I prepare my body properly for walking or running on solid concrete for one hour, two hours, three hours or four hours. What kind of training regime do I have to do to run a maraton on cobblestones, asphalt and concrete like Abele Biliki did to win the gold medal in the Olympics in 1960?

    So I agree with abide that the body can adapt to these different higher levels of force and surfaces if you understand how to create a training stimulating positive adaptation to prepare your bodies connective tissue elastic recoil mechanisms for these physical stressors of the take offs and the landings.

    After years of study both academically and in the field into understanding how the human spring mechanism works to absorb impacts and protect you from these impacts of the 275 million collisions you have with the ground over your lifetime I have determined these four important factors help you to be able to run barefoot for life...
    [*]The human spring mechanism must be completely released to be able to absorb the impacts safely into the spring mechanism ( that other joints can be locked or stiff for the impact to be safely loaded into the mechanism) Spend 20 - 30 minutes doing pressure points on the muscles and stretching the foot in all ranges of motion as preparation for training, walking on concrete or competition. [*]The human spring suspension system must be strengthened with resistive exercises to increase muscle belly strength and connective tissue strength. Take off your shoes and train your foot with a cuff and a cable or band in abduction, adduction, inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, pronation and supination at least 2 times a week.[*]Most importantly the spring suspension system connective tissue fibers must be strengthened through impacts with elastic deformity. Studies have found a connective tissues strengthen better with quicker impacts as long as these impac
    ts do not exceed the yield strength of the tissue causing the tissue to deform permanently by way plastic deformity. What elastic deformity is is like a rubber band being stretched if it isn't stretched beyond its elastic yield point you can keeps dredging it for millions of impacts. If the force exceeds the yield point or beyond its maximum stretch ability then it will revert to what we call plastic conformity which means it will not be turned back to its original shape. It is permanently deformed. So what we have to do is we have to find out what the yield point is an take-up impacts of exactly slightly less than the yield point to reach maximum strength within that impact training.[*]The last thing is that the mass has to be loaded into the spring is close to perpendicular as possible if it is just bouncing up and down. If we're walking in the Ford direction than the mass should be loaded slightly forward from the perpendicular direction of what we've found from research is in the forefoot. Here is where many scientists who study walking patterns or gait patterns and I differ. Many people believe in the pendulum gate which involves you landing for walking however change their tune to four for landing during running.
    This is my take on it:

    The human body is engineered as a spring mechanism. We must treat, train and maintain it according to the laws which govern spring mechanisms, period. In my opinion that is indisputable. It can be proven with math and many other scientific ovservations and studies.

    Therefore it is my opinion backed by a large volume of science. if you have a spring as your tool than it should be used as a spring for walking, running or any other activities involving movement of the mass above. We don't have a separate set of directions for the spring to move is a spring when were running and not use it according to the laws of spring mechanics or physics and engineering when it's walking. if you have a pogo stick use the pogo stick according to the directions as a pogo stick. You don't hit a baseball with it. The human body is a spring and should be springing any time it's moving.

    When I have worked with national champion tae kwon do athletes, what I have learned through years of observation is that proper form and technique that utilizes the body according to its design when practiced barefoot and springing at all times when they're doing their kicks in their fancy moves. I've never seen a tae kwon do athlete start a kick or a jump with even an ounce of weight on their heels. You might want to be checking your positions with your martial arts movements to make sure that you are always bouncing on your forefoot even when you're not delivering kicks or punches.

    The next thing is that even when you're walking you should be throwing your mass onto a relaxed foot–spring mechanism and bouncing the mass off of your forefoot and not using a pendulum gait heel landing even when walking. Just get your pelvic center of gravity or your bladder area slightly in front of the landing position of your foot when you're walking an attempt to spring your body off of the impact point. Keep your foot loose your so your body weight (MASS) will bounce off your foot so you be protected from the landings and be able to conserve energy by springing your body mass off the ground rather than pushing it off the ground with the muscles of your lower body. It is by spring-training or pseudo-plyometrics that you develop connective tissue strength. Dont bounce up in the air like a bobber in a fishing pond. Just let the mass recoil off the ground so take shorter steps.

    The other thing that you'll see is an advantage is that due to your spring action during walking to spend less time impacting the ground and you'll get a little bit of inactive tissue development that will help your running as well.

    I hope this was not too complicated for you to understand, yes your body has plenty of spring to be old to walk or run on solid concrete services without injury. Instead of trying to find a way around what you should be able to do naturally, try to develop a training program to achieve the ability that you've had when you were a small child which is to be able to walk on any surface without damaging your joints.

    In regards to running on thorns, Joseph three my recommendation is that you do not run where there are thorns. I hope you can find some dry humor in that :)
    [*], the spring suspension system must be strengthened with impacts and that child the connective tissue is developed
     
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  15. Barefoot Mary

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    Hey, the Society for Barefoot

    Hey, the Society for Barefoot Living is a pretty good resource for all things barefoot LIFESTYLE: http://barefooters.org/

    I've been barefoot continuously all summer long (even at work, commuting, tooling around town, etc!) and it really does change your gait. Don't be too loving of natural surfaces. My barefoot hiking group goes up into the Rockies for hikes 2x a month and we encounter many difficult surfaces like rock scrambles. Bend your knees more - I think that's the most important thing to do while barefoot. Even bending your knees slightly while standing on pavement will ease up the impact on your joints. Tread lightly, lead with the ball of your foot where you can feel the ground. Stand up straight and notice your arms swing like crazy when you're barefoot! Practice makes perfect. It's so funny people have to re-learn to walk and stand and run barefoot. But such is our shod culture...

    Cheers!
     
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  16. fishugly

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    Dr James Stoxen DC



    Thank you for your very thorough response! I believe to have understood. To compliment that though, can you recommend some youtube (or the like) video that I could use as well?

    Thanks again.
     
  17. fishugly

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    Barefoot Mary wrote:Hey, the



    Thanks! Funny you should mention barefoot hiking. I work from home so am barefoot most all day. I also work in the yard barefoot and generally go barefoot when ever I think I can without drawing attention to myself. So last wkd, while on a overnight backpacking trip in the Sawtooths, I decided to try the last 4 miles back to the trailhead, barefoot. Unbeknownst to me, ~two of those miles consited of fist sized granite rock and sharp gravel. Determined, I made it back sans shoes. Surprisingly, it didn't bother my feet that much but boy were my calves sore the next day! Don't know what that means in terms of doing something correctly or incorrectly but thought I'd mention it.
     

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