Walking Gait Un-natural

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Hiking' started by Noonie, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Noonie

    Noonie
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    For many years when I walk barefoot around home I do not notice my gait. I just walk around and it seems natural. I walk on ceramic floors, wood, concrete basement floor, concrete patio, grass, and concrete sidewalk. I have never once paid attention to my gait on those short walks. I slip on socks - same thing. When I use to wear padded slippers - same thing. I just walk and never had issues.

    In the past couple of years I tried BF running, and at other times, running in minimalist footwear. I won't get into that now, but for now I'm not wanting to run, just walk (then hike...then, maybe, run).

    At work and on the weekends I'm wearing either vivobarefoot ra or evo, or xero 6mm sandals. I just walk and don't think about gait. From time to time I get sore tendons/ligaments around one ankle. I'm pretty sure I'm heel striking (more below). And I'm guessing the sore ankles are from heel striking in uncushioned footwear? I understand minimalist footwear can make this happen...but it less likely to happen BF ;)

    So today I said I would try and change my gait (not heel strike). I used these points from another post as my mantra:

    - Relax, relax, relax
    - Vertical torse
    - Bent knees (when the foot is directly beneath the torse)
    - Move your body (particularly the hips) forward
    - Let the feet follow

    Went for a 40 minute walk this morning in my 4mm xero sandals. And then a 15 minute walk at work in my Ra 3mm (no insole). Both times I felt very ackward. My feet, and ankles, feel fine at the moment. My lower back, abs, and hamstrings feel 'worked out' (not necessarily in a bad way). I'm assuming this is normal, as it's not my lower legs doing the work? I'm also assuming my feet are somewhat accustomed to minimalist footwear because I've been wearing it for years, but in changing my gait I'm making new things happen or not happen. I think I could keep up trying out this gait, and should be able to catch myself not following the above points rather quickly. Laslty, I'm assuming this new gait, once done for a while, would become my new natural gait(assuming I'm BF or 'very' minimal footwear...otherwise with larger shoes it would be harder to notice)?

    I'm guessing most folks who changed their walking gait as part of BF/minimalist movement would have experienced pretty much the same thing?
     
  2. paulbeales

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    Seems like you are maybe overthinking this Noonie? If you are wearing thin-soled shoes all the time, you will develop a gait where you will land further forward on your foot and less on your heel. Your body will adjust naturally in time
    .
     
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  3. Noonie

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    I was thinking the same thing today :rolleyes: However, as I have worn thin-soled shoes for a while, and because I've not done any running in them for over a year, I was surprised that I was still getting sore ankles. Trying to change my gait felt so unnatural though, and I'm not convinced it's the right thing to do. I'm still wearing the same shoes today and earlier I walked without thinking about it...so far so good, and unless I'm hobbling, will go about it this way. Thanks.
     
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  4. Sid

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  5. Ahcuah

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    On the other hand, it's only the heel which has a huge talus bone. And the bone is much larger than in any of our non-upright-walking ape cousins. That strongly suggests it was selected for by . . . our walking.
     
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  6. Hobbit

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    Coming down on the heel whilst walking truly barefoot can be more painful than coming down on the forefoot: The muscles around the several metatarsal bones will eventually lift them up just in time in case of need (=presence of pointy stuff) to form a kind of cavity around the stone or whatever. But with just one bone in the heel - if you hit the stone with that, it hurts! :eek:
     
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  7. Sid

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    Two things can help. Look and respond.

    It's important to look where one is stepping. Somehow, people have forgotten this. I noticed that my dogs always have good footing, and they have four feet to be mindful of! It's clear that they are looking where they are going.

    When stepping on something unpleasant, there are reflexes that activate, in order to shift the weight. It seems that people have also lost their reflexes. :(
     
  8. Sly

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    my own experience :

    when I walk on easy surfaces (asphalt, sand, grass), heel first, but quite gently, legs relaxed but knee is not necessarily bent
    when I walk on "challenging" surfaces (you know : gravels, and so on), oh gosh, I immediately bend my knees (ans ankles and hips), and consequently, my foot land horizontally, ball and heel together

    but I spent 28 years of my life with shoes and only 2 years without,
    so maybe my heel-landing is a bad habit from this shod years, I dunno...
     
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  9. Hobbit

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    I don't know if they are looking where they are going but I'm pretty sure that dogs never heel strike: they use the same kind of reflexes with their forefeet as I do. :D
     
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  10. skedaddle

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    Walking - gentle heel strike 15-20mm
    Jogging - mid foot 10-14mm
    Running - forefoot 7-9mm
    That's how it seems to work out for me, i've tried mid foot- forefoot walking but it just felt forced and awkward (other experiences may vary)
     
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  11. paulbeales

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    All I know is that my heel hurts if I walk barefoot and heel strike
    .
     
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  12. SI barefoot

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    I heel strike while walking but the bottom of my foot is nearly parallel to the ground as it hits the ground, so my mid and forefoot only have an inch or less to drop in order for them to strike the ground. I do not strike the ground with the back of my heel and roll my foot forward (as you would if you heel strike while running in traditional shoes). That produce too much strain to the foot and will make it and other parts of the body sore. If I need to walk fast I lean slightly from the ankles and bend my knees slightly, but I only walk fast when I have too. Many Americans senselessly walk fast all of the time. That leads to wear and tear.
     
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  13. SI barefoot

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    Also, just curious, what part of you ankle hurts? The front, next to the top of the foot, the rear where your achilles is, or on one of the sides? That can help to figure out the issue and to better rehab the specific site better.
     
  14. paulbeales

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    My heel hurts on the underside where it hits the ground.

    I've just checked. I'm definitely landing on the front of my foot and then briefly touching down on my heel when I walk.

    BTW - I generally wear Sockwa when I'm not BF. I rarely wear anything with any thickness to them, and when I do these are VFFs or Lems. I don't set out to walk in any particular way.
    .
     
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  15. Noonie

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    SI Barefoot - I believe it's the Tibialis Posterior. Just yesterday I discovered a knot in a musle just below the calf, on the back of my leg. I massaged it several times and this morning it's looser. Now when I walk my ankle is fine (mind you I'm walking in dress shoes that while are light and flexible, have a good amount of stack).

    On the weekend I went on a two hour hike, shod, and felt good but not 100%. As I believe this muscle has now loosened nicely, I'm looking forward to seeing how it responds after the next hike.

    I'm generally a person who over-corrects on things, and with this whole ankle thing I've been paying too much attention and thus forcing it. I'm now staying relaxed and not paying attention to foot placement. So far so good.
     
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  16. Sid

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    It seems that everyone is different. I wonder how many of these problems are related to shoe-wearing. :(
     
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  17. scedastic

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    I'm goign to butcher a quote attributed to tolstoy (never verified and I'm not much of a quoter), but I think it applie here, if you substitute "feet" for "family."

    "All happy families are alike. All unhappy families are different"
     
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  18. Noonie

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    Thought I would post an update on things...

    Due to some neck/shoulder issues I had taken a break from cycling. As this was my main source of fitness I had to do something else. Given some of the running/hiking/walking issues I've had with minimal/BF mentioned above, I decided to try running in some 'stability' shoes. These are not as bad as some...8mm drop, 290g, and rather comfortable. I don't know the stack but it again wasn't as bad as some. So I started running 30 minutes a day on trails. Well I did this for 40 straight days, up to 40 minutes per run and the issues I had with my ankle were completely gone. My running streak ended a couple of weeks ago after the trails started getting hard and icy, and I was forced to run on the road, or with yaktrax on the trails. This caused me some hot spots on the bottom of my feet. But my ankle issue has still not resurfaced. What I do find wearing traditional shoes is that my back may hurt. I have a few different pair and the stiffer ones with more drop make my back hurt even more.

    I'm now back to cycling as neck/shoulder issues are better. So I no longer want to run for fitness. I still hike once a week (2-3 hours). I may try a couple of hikes with my vivobarefoot shoes that are handle snow well. And once the snow is gone I may start using my xero shoes and other min footwear, or going barefoot at times.

    This really is a roller coaster...up and down, and loops coming full circle!
     
  19. Scottie

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    When I first started going barefoot, after most of my life being shod, walking felt awkward. Recently someone suggested I look into the Feldenkreis method. I got jack Heggie's book "Running with the Whole Body" and the first exercise nailed it for me. He has you notice what your right hip is doing when you step out with your right foot, then notice what your right shoulder is doing, then exaggerate that, then exaggerate the opposite. So in one example you lock your shoulder in motion with your hip and foot and walk sort of like Frankenstein and in the other you walk with your hip going forward with your foot and your shoulder going back to counterbalance it. After a while you can really feel the difference. I noticed that a lot of times I reach out with my foot when walking and put my opposite shoulder back like sticking out my toe to try the water in a pool...

    Just a few days ago this came through the net:
    http://balancedrunner.co.uk/do-you-know-how-to-walk-how-walking-is-different-from-running/

    It looks interesting.

    All the best,
    Scott
     

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