Hello!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Jennifer Gwirtz, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Jennifer Gwirtz

    Jennifer Gwirtz
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    It's lovely to see so many great posts from like minds! I'm so glad to have found this group.

    Mine is kind of a long story, so here's the short version.

    I grew up with what I call "minimal" feet - soft structure, low arches when standing, pronation, low ankle mobility. The moment I took my first step the orthopedist clapped me into hard, "supportive" clown shoes. I had to wear bars at night as a toddler. My feet did not develop well. I took up ballet and eventually had a career in it. It helped somewhat.

    I ran track in high school, but that hurt too much, so I stopped when I got to college.

    Now I'm a Pilates instructor, thanks to a decade-long back injury that put a stop to my dancing for a while. I teach fitness and restorative styles.

    About a year or so ago I was doing some on-line research and found links to barefoot running sites. Then I found Daniel Lieberman's research. I was intrigued, but never thought I'd ever be able to run with my "inadequate" feet sans shoes. (Podiatrists have laughed at my feet. Really.)

    A year later, not only are my shoes off, but I'm running. It took me a long time building and mobilizing my feet to get there. I have no interest at all in competition, just in the joy of moving. I live in San Francisco where I see glass and other nastiness on the sidewalks and streets all the time. When I'm out and about I wear VFFs. At work I'm either barefoot or resting my feet in Dansko clogs. I enjoy running at a local track or beach barefoot and hope to find other places where I can leave my shoes off. More often than I'd like I have to wear the VFFs on the YMCA treadmill at odd hours since I'm also a busy mom.

    I am currently working on a project on rebuilding "minimal" feet, re-evaluating healthy gait patterns, and training towards walking and running barefoot based on the work I've done on myself.

    I just wrote the long version of my story on my blog: http://mommajenskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/03/moving-through-world-larger-picture.html

    Thanks again. I look forward to reading everyone's posts. Happy running!

    Best,

    Jen
     
  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
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    Welcome, Jen!  Was there a

    Welcome, Jen! Was there a name to this so-called condition that you had as a toddler? I mean having to wear bars at night sounds pretty serious. Otherwise, you've described exactly what many of us here have. It's a condition I call "normal." If the doctors would have just let you be, what would have happened to you? Do you ever wonder? Perhaps stronger, healthier feet? Perhaps you would have been able to continue on with many of your interests.

    Regardless, you sound like a fighter, someone who doesn't give up. This tells me you will be at this for awhile. ;-)
     
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  3. Jennifer Gwirtz

    Jennifer Gwirtz
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    Thanks! Did you also have

    Thanks! Did you also have minimal feet when you started?

    At first the pediatricians thought I had hip "dysplasia," which would mean that there was a disconnection in and possibly a malformation of the hip joint, but that wasn't the case. I was just extremely hypermobile. Three cousins in my generation had variations of whatever it was I had. One of them actually had clubfoot. The docs had to break and reset his lower leg.

    The trouble with being overly flexible in the joints is that when you start to bear weight, and don't have normal actions of feet (and the rest of the body) and you're limited in your ability to run around like a normal kid, there can be the tendency to create equally tight places right next to those loose places.

    I don't think there's a name for that. Chronic imbalances? Modern day misunderstanding of the body? Allopathic medicine not seeing the forest for the trees?

    I believe I would have had healthier feet and fewer injuries in general. I'm guessing I'd have had less health problems, too, since negotiating gravity is such a big part of well-being.

    My daughter was also turned in, although she's not as limber as I was. My instinct was to keep her as unclothed, or loosely clothed as possible, including her feet when she was an infant. We were particularly happy with the Robeez shoes when she was first starting to walk on pavement. She initially didn't seem interested in walking, so we found some soft-soled squeeky shoes that also gave her a love for running as quickly as she could.

    At 4 1/2 she's much more athletic than I was. She has a small pronation, but the fronts of her feet are wide and mobile, and when she runs you can see her pull up that back arch. Her left leg and both feet turn in when she's tired, so I take her to the pediatric chiropractor occasionally. She wears Softstar mocs (conveniently dressed up to resemble shiny red mary janes). We have two or three local playgrounds that have clean surfaces that we call our "barefoot parks."

    :bigsmile: (They could use some smileys shaped like feet, I think. Heh.)
     
  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
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    Have you ever seen this

    Have you ever seen this footage of possibly the best runner in the world? It's footage of Haille Gebrselassie who runs with extreme pronation. The clip is called Pronation, The Truth, and you have got to see this, for your daughter's sake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAW87NsiGuI I used to be very flat footed, and I was a moderate pronator. It would make sense, since the foot without built up arch muscles tends to roll in. Since I have been running barefoot, I have developed strong arch muscles in my feet, which have lifted my feet and lessened the amount of pronation. I don't believe that being flat footed and a pronator means that we are somehow defective and need to be "corrected." Also, please be sure to check out Michael Nirenberg, DPM, our resident podiatrist's article on the front page titledBiomechanics of Sport Shoes: The Disturbing Truth About Running Shoes, Inserts and Foot Orthotics: http://www.barefootrunners.org/story/biomechanics-sport-shoes-disturbing-truth-about-running-shoes-inserts-and-foot-orthotics-micha
     
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  5. Abide

    Abide
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    Hey Jen welcome. I wouldn't

    Hey Jen welcome. I wouldn't be too worried about dirty places. My boys are barefoot everywhere and they are doing great! So well I am jealous.
     

  6. JosephTree

    JosephTree
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    Welcome, Jen!  you have lots

    Welcome, Jen! you have lots of BRS members for company in your neighborhood.
     
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  7. Jennifer Gwirtz

    Jennifer Gwirtz
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    Amazing! I kept hoping,

    Amazing! I kept hoping, though, to see from the front if his knees skewed. They don't look like they do. He has a wonderful relaxed twist through his torso.

    I've heard that about pronations, too. One of my teachers told me that a certain amount of pronation is actually to be desired and it makes sense considering how the foot is able to rebound with gravity. Also, if a person's ankles are tight, then pronation is the only way to dorsiflex the foot.

    Excellent article, too. Thanks.
     
  8. Jennifer Gwirtz

    Jennifer Gwirtz
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    Abide: It's not the dirt,

    Abide: It's not the dirt, actually. It's broken glass (lots of that), nails, used condoms, and the occasional hypodermic needle. Dog poop pales in comparison. [​IMG]

    JosephTree: Really? Whereabouts? I'm in San Francisco and I almost never see another barefoot/minimally shod person. I noticed that you are from Philadelphia or New Jersey. How is it being shoeless there? (It's where I'm from originally, actually.)

    Thanks for the welcome! I'm very glad to be here.
     
  9. Phil Hart

    Phil Hart
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    Welcome, Jen.  You have a

    Welcome, Jen. You have a great story, and it sounds like you're continuing it well. You'll be best served by sticking with true BF as much as you can, and just watch closely where you step. It's like being on "point" (the lead man through the woods/jungle/desert) in the Army - glance up and around every couple of seconds, but WATCH 6-10 FEET IN FRONT OF YOU LIKE A HAWK! If you stay alert and do that, you can avoid anything that might appear in your path by either going around or even stopping if absolutely necessary. Or like driving - you glance at all of your mirrors every few seconds, but you put 98% of your attention on where your car is heading at 65 miles per hour - forward. Stay alert, stay alive/healthy.
     
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