I was in 4th grade when I first started wearing orthotics. I had a nasty case of tendinitis in my right ankle and orthotics immediately helped. I wore supportive shoes whenever I exercised or walked long distances ever since. Though I obviously had weakness in my right foot and ankle, I didn’t have any major problems again until decades later after having a baby.
What started out as intermittent toe pain increased steadily until I was in severe pain constantly and couldn’t have anything touching my right big toe. After seeking out the advice of a podiatrist, I started wearing thick supportive shoes at all times. This calmed down the inflammation significantly, to my relief. But I could never be without these shoes. And anything that pressed down on my toe caused a lot of pain. It hurt to even shower without shoes on. If I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I slipped my shoes on before walking to bathroom.
After a few months of this, I went back to the podiatrist. I was ordered off my foot for 6 weeks. To say that was difficult would be the understatement of the year. I was miserable. Hell, my entire family was miserable. But I followed her advice and after the 6 weeks I was SO MUCH WORSE OFF than I was before. My entire body was out of alignment from the crutches and limping and I was in constant pain. When it came time to start walking on my right foot again, I discovered that I had a new problem: intense peroneal and achiles pain. Now I couldn’t even walk.
It was around this time that my dear friend Miranda introduced me to Katie Bowman (or KB as we affectionately call her ;). Miranda sent me a copy of this audiobook which I immediately devoured. I was rock bottom, and anything that gave me hope I could move again was welcome. So I started the trek upward; doing KB exercises and reading KB book after book after book. After a year of consistent stretching, exercise, and visits to a Gonstead Chiropractor, I removed the orthotics from my shoes and started walking barefoot.
Since then, I have religiously worn only shoes that are completely flat and flexible, with an untapered toe box. I have had some setbacks, including some issues with my big toe and ankle that have required continuing visits to a chiropractor and some physical therapy, but I now walk pain free. My entire body is healthier and stronger, and I feel like I can MOVE. I am still on a path toward more strength and better mobility and have a lot of room for improvement, but going “barefoot” is one of the best things I’ve done for body.
*I am not a medical expert, just here to share my experience. Please do your own research and consult your healthcare physicians before trying anything new*