Tender sensations on the bottoms of the feet?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by nature runner, May 2, 2011.

  1. nature runner

    nature runner
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    I have been running/walking barefoot alot. I actually always barefoot everywhere all the time. I've been trying to get my feet toughened for pavement. It seems like the bottoms of my feet are always tender when running on pavement or concrete? It seems like they don't ever toughen up to a point where they don't feel raw? I can gravel trail run and dirt trail run just fine with no problem, but it seems like pavement keeps my feet tender feeling, kinda a stinging feeling on the forefoot but tender? What is this and does it ever get any better, or is it just one of those things that goes along with barefoot running?
     
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  2. hmduey

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    NR it sounds like friction to

    NR it sounds like friction to me, but I don't pretend to be an expert. With the gravel, the ground moves under your feet, so you potentially get less friction with the natural movement of your feet. On trails, you can get away with a little pushing off or some foot movement, as the earth still gives a bit underneath, and dirt moves too.

    With pavement, you have that rigid, rough surface grinding against the bottoms of your feet and it causes more (or different) friction. I still occasionally get tingly feet after a run, especially when I've over-done it. But usually it's gone by the next day and I can run again without any issues. If it's still sore the next day, I would look at form or think about whether you're taking it too far on that surface.

    I know you've been barefooting a long time so I could be way off, but like I said that's my guess, based on my limited experience. I know I can get a way with a lot less attention to my form on trails (in some respects) than on pavement. I'm still walking on gravel though! ;-)
     

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  3. miker

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    Nature, I dunno, but my

    Nature, I dunno, but my feeling is that if you can run on gravel trail, concrete ought to be easy! I run most of my bf miles on asphalt and/or concrete. Every time I try gravel, I'm reduced to being a mere mortal instead of super bf guy (I think kryptonite must be a different word for gravel!!). :) Hopefully some here with more bf experience than I can help w/this.
     
  4. nature runner

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    Hmduey, I appreciate that,

    Hmduey,



    I appreciate that, and I think it is a form issue. I just can't figure out how. My soles are tough from barefooting, but running on pavement will tenderize even some one like me with tough soles, if it is done wrong? My landing feels right, but my cadence is a little slow. it is under 180, but at times I think it is over 180. I don't really have any flat long stretches I can run on. It's hilly and very versatile terrain around here. I hate running on the streets cuz I feel like everyone is looking at me lol. People blow there horns, and hollar put some shoes on freak! I hate that! if I could run on flat ground I could probably do better I suppose. I will just have to suck it up and run where the heavy traffic is!
     
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  5. nature runner

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    Miker, The gravel for me is

    Miker,



    The gravel for me is easy compared to asphalt or pavement. Gravel is candy compared to hard surfaces. I can run gravel for up to 6 miles now, but the pavement kills me? It's ok for first couple of miles then my feet start getting tender under the 2nd and 3rd metetarsals? I don't know?
     
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  6. Abide

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    Downhill sucks barefoot for

    Downhill sucks barefoot for me, do you notice any abrasion then?
     

  7. nature runner

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    Yea Abide, Downhill is

    Yea Abide,



    Downhill is usually alot worse, but lately I haven't had much down hill time on my current running path. As a full time barefooter outside of work, doesn't seem like my soles should give me this much tenderness? strange?
     
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  8. NakedSoleNate

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    the only thing I can think of

    the only thing I can think of Nature is form/cadence thing....I run both asphalt and trails, and I find the asphalt/concrete to be so much easier on my feet...is it possible that you are actually running on chip seal, NOT macadam?? If it's chip seal, it will eat at your feet and it takes quite a bit of time to condition to it (it is, imo, worse than gravel)...chip seal is that type of road surface where they put tar down and then "gravel" and let the cars press it into the tar, lots of rual roads have it....it's NOT the same thing as asphalt/macadam OR concrete sidewalks. Try a run in town to feel the difference, most towns don't have it, only the country roads.
     
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  9. Barefoot TJ

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    This would be a good place to

    This would be a good place to add pictures of those different surfaces Nate is talking about if anyone has any to share.
     
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  10. nature runner

    nature runner
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    nate, I do believe you are

    nate,



    I do believe you are correct, the pavement is exactly as you described. I do live on a backroad, plenty of them actually and it feels like a cheese grater on the soles of my feet. When I say barefoot, I do mean skin to earth not vibrams! It may not be form, probably just that junk?
     
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  11. hmduey

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    oh yeah, if you're running on

    oh yeah, if you're running on chip seal, that's the problem most likely! I hate that stuff!
     

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  12. DB

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    NR, I'd love to be able to

    NR, I'd love to be able to run 6 miles on gravel. That's quite an accomplishment.

    My barefoot running goal for the year is to "master" rough surfaces. At least 5 miles in every direction from where I live, nearly all streets that can be run on are chip seal. And nearly all the sidewalks in this area are old (at least 50 years), so are highly eroded and often rougher than chip seal.

    Earlier this spring, I was running 1-3 miles on these rough surfaces at 10-11 minutes/mile. (On smoother pavement, I run 8-9 minutes/mile and on a rubber/artificial track I run about 7 minutes/mile.) I took 1-2 days off in between, but my feet got increasingly sensitive, raw, and feeling "bruised" (although not actually bruised).

    After reading Ken Bob's book (which is worth its weight in gold, even if you've read everything on his web site), I've tried to rededicate myself to bending my knees. Really, it's like sitting (Ken Bob's Groucho Marx stance/drill helps a lot, I think). Gordon Pirie, the British track and cross country great from the 1950s, once noted that even though he was taller than most of his competitors, when he ran, he was about 1/2 a foot shorter than them, because he was sitting so low (that is, bending his knees).

    I've also tried to re-emphasize relaxing my feet. The way I noticed I wasn't relaxing is when I was running on a rough sidewalk once. I ran across a few "new" concrete squares that were smooth and my feet flattened comfortably on the surface (like a few seconds of relief). Then a couple of steps later, I was back on the rough sidewalk, and my feet tensed up, almost contracting, and it was more uncomfortable. I have to consciously try to relax and not anticipate discomfort. It's sort of like taking little leaps of faith that it's not going to be as bad as I think it might.

    So now I am running 1-2 miles on the same surfaces, but even slower (12-13 minutes per mile). My feet are recovering better between runs (still 1-2 days in between). And I'm trying to walk for a few minutes on sharp gravel before running. The contrast is great -- it makes chip seal seem like silk. And there have been moments that the chip seal even feels good (although more moments when it doesn't feel so good!).
     
  13. nature runner

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    DB, Thanks for the advice

    DB,



    Thanks for the advice it's much appreciated. I learned to run on gravel because of my mortons toe problem in my right foot, it wouldn't allow me to run on pavement. I figured since my feet are conditioned now I could try pavement, didn't realize it was chip seal, I thought all roads were like mine. Nothing but back roads and trails here, so I choose trails, gravel, dirt, etc. Mainly gravel it's not covered with debris that much and it feels so good on the bottoms of my bare feet love it! I am going to try concrete sidewalk runs at college they have a concrete sidewalk track with mile markers, concrete feels like candy after barefooting on the gravel. Love it.
     
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  14. twinkletoes

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    I love pavement and concrete,

    I love pavement and concrete, but am wondering if the "chip seal" y'all are talking about is the stuff I couldn't run on for 2 miles of the half-marathon Sunday. It is so bad I have a blood blister from just trying to walk it last week. My feet are fairly conditioned, but I do have a couple real tender spots from booking it downhill to make up time for an unfortunate butt-cramp during the run.

    As far as normal streets, I think it does come down to form, but also the mental perception of pain, as TJ suggested once, "the feet might not necessarily be getting stronger but rather the mind." There are many sections of road I couldn't run when I started, or even a few months ago that are easy or easier now. The only way through is through is my experience.
     
  15. DB

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    NR,I'd be curious to know

    NR,

    I'd be curious to know more about your gravel running. What kind of gravel is it -- in terms of size and sharpness/roundness? And if it is sharp, I imagine you know far better than me how to run on rough surfaces. Does the chip seal ever feel uncomfortable or sharp and pokey to you? And how was it when you started out running on gravel? Do you have any advice for those of us who want to be able to run on it (apart from taking it gradually)?

    Twinkletoes,

    Most of the chip seal I encounter is essentially sharp rocks about 1/2 inch in diameter "glued" on the top of the road. For the most part, there is no tar between these "chips", at least not until the bottom of the chips. So it's sort of like relatively small, sharp gravel that doesn't move. Chip seal roads that have been driven on quite a bit eventually become fairly smooth, almost as much as regular aphalt roads, at least in the tracks where the cars have driven.
     
  16. twinkletoes

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    DB, I think I've been running

    DB, I think I've been running on that chip seal since I started - they redid some roads around my house and it was brutal at first, now, not so much. The stuff at the park I couldn't even walk on is like that but on steroids: the rocks are closer to an inch and very sharp- unpassable especially after 10 miles already on varying pavement textures.
     
  17. nature runner

    nature runner
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    DB, The gravel is about 1/4

    DB,



    The gravel is about 1/4 inch in diameter. The first time felt rough but really not bad. The next day my feet were sore, so I took two days off. I kept doing that for about two months. After doing it over and over through the pain and all, my feet adapted to it in a good way. Now it feels like a foot massage. Your body can do whatever you want it to do, the mind is what stops the progress! The pain confuses the mind, and relays that to your body. But, most of the time your body is also right. You just have to analyze were the pain is coming from. It may be soreness due to a new experience and not exactly bad form. In my case on gravel it was exactly that, good form and a new experience. So I ran with it and the pain stopped and my running increased. Now I am a happy barefoot gravel trail runner, hope to soon be a happy pavement runner. The pains in the pavement were confusing so that is why I started this thread to find out what others experience soI can develope a form based on what others have already been through. I didn't know about chip seal being a cheese grater on the bare feet, so i think it was a wise decision to start this thread and figure out what exactly I am dealing with as far as surfaces. Since I am inexperienced, I need feed back from folks who have been there, so I can try something diferent, a different approach. I am determined to run injury free. I will not give up! My heart and will won't let me!
     
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  18. DB

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    NR,I agree that we need more

    NR,

    I agree that we need more discussions of surfaces. For me, that's been the single most challenging part of barefoot running. Until I decided not to be restricted by rough surfaces (at least my goal is not to be!), I felt like I was on an island. Only some places and surfaces were safe to go on, and I basically stopped running on trails in my area. When I ran in shoes, I loved the trails because they weren't paved. But the trails here are usually covered with sharp gravel, about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch in diameter. And it's usually not deep or thick gravel, so there often isn't much "give". This is the challenge I hope to meet this year.

    What I've found is that the type of gravel makes a difference, in addition to size (with smaller generally easier). For example, crushed basalt is especially angular and sharp (razor thin edges sometimes). Many other types of crushed rock tend not to have as sharp edges. And pea gravel or river rocks, with rounded shapes and few or no edges, are almost in a separate (usually easier) category.

    As you note, Twinkletoes, there seem to be many types of chip seal, too. So simply saying "chip seal" or "gravel" may not be descriptive enough in terms of how rough the experience is (or not) for our feet. We almost need to become geologists and civil engineers ...
     
  19. NakedSoleNate

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    older chip seal is easier

    older chip seal is easier than newer...and there are different kinds of chipseal, depending on area. I find gravel (even the horrible 2A gravel--the angular sharp stuff) more tolerable especially in the summer months when the feet are warm and melt around it easier...also helps to keep footing light :). The thing about chipseal is that even when "older" the tiny little sharp points everywhere (unlike rocky terrain), which might feel fine at first, over miles act like a tenderizing agent :). The most milage I've done on it is a run I call "running the valley"...it's a 14 mile round trip. Until you get used to it, it can really tenderize the bottoms of your feet...feels awesome to have that much heat on your souls for 12 hours after :-D. It used to kinda remind me of getting tatooed. Ways to mitigate it....run (when it's safe to do so) on the painted lines, and (someone else said this too) run where the car tires tread often. This was one reason I wanted to run the gettysburg marathon course before the actual marathon, to make sure it wasn't 26 miles of chip seal...and it wasn't. Of course, I wasn't able to run it anyway :).

    Asphalt/Macadamn is awesome though, especially in warmer (not hot) weather when it actually feels a little springy :-D. As the heat increases, if you can't run in the AM...and run on roads, the painted lines are also cooler and usually quite tolerable in mid-day. Concrete sidewalks stay fairly cool. Red brick sidewalks is hot as hell, hotter than black top. FYI :). But, now that it's warmer, and no snow is on the ground, run trails as much as possible, there's nothing like it!!! :-D
     
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  20. Barefoot Brown

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    I actually felt somewhat of

    I actually felt somewhat of the same thing today. It has been about an hour since the run, and the balls of my feet are still burning. I have a feeling that it's mainly due to the fact that my feet aren't quite ready for naked barefoot running. This was probably my 5th or 6th time out naked (actually barefoot), and my plan was to go 4 miles. I'm sure all you barefoot pros are screaming right now. "It's too far, too fast!" I know, I know... I have ran close to 3 miles naked before with no issues that time, but this time was a different story.

    The beginning of the run was amazing. I was running with my shod running girlfriend, so I had my metronome so I wouldn't follow her cadence. The run was going smooth, and then I felt as if there was a small rock stuck to the bottom of my left foot. I hopped and wiped my foot and kept going, but the feeling wouldn't go away. I tried to ignore it and focus on form, but the pain just wouldn't go away! I stopped and sat down to look at the bottom of my feet, and everyhing looked fine, but when I pushed on the skin, I could feel the stabbing pain. It was... and still is, kind of a burning sensation. I brought along my huaraches and put them on, but it still felt just as bad.

    Do you think that it's possible that I was running on this so-called chip seal and that is why? It was a local bike trail I was running on. Or do you think that this sounds like a normal beginner, not quite so ready for longer distance type injury??
     

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