After my ankle tendon surgery, I thought I’d never walk barefoot again. In fact, I thought barefoot walking was bad for me and avoided it at all costs. I even kept a pair of shoes next to my bed to put on immediately upon waking. I believe it was said to me at some point that barefoot was not a good idea for me.
When I began reading how to strengthen my feet and ankle tendons, I was surprised to see barefoot walking as one of the recommendations. I tried to increase the amount of time I walk in the house without any shoes and ended up with three broken toes. Not a great plan. Anyway, I’m not giving up on this idea and recently did some more reading about it. Many runners advocate for shoes that have zero drop, or are closer to replicating barefoot running. I did buy a pair of zero drop running shoes and tried using them all winter on the treadmill. Unfortunately, when I transitioned to outside I began having pain in my ankle tendon. This caused me to rethink my plans.
I plan to strengthen the balancing muscles in my feet and ankles in hopes of improving my running. I realized I must transition to zero drop shoes a bit more cautiously and if you are a woman who wears heels a lot you will likely need to do the same. I have tight Achilles tendons and poor ankle mobility, especially in my left ankle. Running in my minimalist shoes led to overuse pain in my peroneal and achilles tendons. Thankfully, I listened to my body and stopped immediately. Taking a step back here is the plan to transition and strengthen my barefoot work.
Starting immediately, I will be doing all my warm up work (Silly Toes) barefoot. This routine will be done every day, whether I am running or not. It actually feels so good to stretch the lower legs out.
Barefoot BOSU work will strengthen balance and ankle mobility. One leg balance routines are extremely helpful in strengthening smaller muscles in the ankles and are fun to perform on the BOSU.
Wearing my minimalist shoes for workouts other than running and even getting a pair for walking should also help strengthen my lower legs and feet. Finally, I plan on walking barefoot whenever possible in the house but will be sure to avoid metal doors this time!
Are you a runner who uses zero drop, or barefoot shoes? How did you transition?How has it improved your running form? Please do share as I am interested in learning.