“Shoes do no more for the foot than a hat does for the brain.” Dr. Mercer Rang (renowned orthopedic surgeon and researcher in pediatric development).
I played football in university for 3 years and during that time I don’t remember when I wasn’t nursing an ankle injury, calf strain or shin pain.
This had become my “normal”.
Going down the usual path
In my second year I discovered custom orthotics. I initially thought that this was the magic bullet. I thought the orthotics worked because they reduced my chronic shin pain but I still had to have my ankles taped. As long as I was taped up my ankles wouldn’t be re-injured.
I was convinced that my feet and ankles were genetically flawed, and I would have to support them with footwear and orthotics for the rest of my life.
Custom built support actually became a crutch
This belief followed me into practice for 5 years. I wore $180 stability control shoes and $500 custom orthotics every day to work. I wouldn’t think of doing something athletic without them on.
I replaced the shoes every 4 months and the orthotics every 6 months. Forget about sandals, unless they were custom orthotic sandals.
I was living in fear, and it was all based on a flawed premise. There is something wrong with me, I can’t fix it, and all I can do is support it.
Then it dawned on me.
Wait a minute! I use STRUCTURAL CORRECTIVE CHIROPRACTIC CARE to help people reverse the damage in their spine, why couldn’t the same be true about ankles and feet?
I teach people that their bodies were built to heal, and that damage can be improved or restored at any age and stage. So why would this principle apply to every part of your body . . . . except your and my feet? It doesn’t!!!!
Realizing I had fallen into a trap, I decided to give my feet some credit, and let them start acting like feet again. I forced myself to be barefoot or in minimalist shoes more often.
It took some time but it was worth it
It was a slow transition over the course of about a year. That was 6 years ago, and I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My feet have actually changed! I developed arches that I never remember having.
After the first year I have not had one moment of shin pain and have not rolled an ankle once (and I am a trail runner).
The hip and knee pain I used to experience after a long shift of adjusting people are gone.
The best part is, I did nothing special, other than not wearing conventional shoes.
What if you’re dependant on orthotics today?
If you love your orthotics, understand that this is not an attack. I still see a place in healthcare for orthotics. I just see them as more of a stop-gap than an actual solution.
I chose not to hit you with a bunch of statistics. I simply offer my personal experience, some common sense, and one question. Who’s design is better God’s (insert nature, the universe or evolution here, depending on your beliefs) or man’s? I know who wins for me!
So take your shoes off and let those feet be feet! If you are scared, I will help you come up with a game-plan!
PS. If you want to talk to Dr. Ken about making the transition from “super constructed” footwear to a more minimal running shoe, OR make the jump like he did to get your feet stronger and get out of orthotics then give him a call at Lighthouse (250-870-9136). You can also connect through email, firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll be glad to talk to you about a plan of attack that is safe and logical for you too.