Pregnancy changes a body in many ways. Some of the changes in my body have been unexpected and sometimes unwelcome. But, you know, life goes on and you adapt and learn to accept. One thing that seems to have changed with this last pregnancy is my feet.
Even before pregnancy, I had issues with my feet. If I stood too long, my ankles would really hurt. I just chalked it up to weak ankles. A few years ago I injured my foot while exercising. I guess I just landed on it the wrong way. After a few months, it was still pretty sore and puffy with edema. So I decided to go to a podiatrist who informed me that I had flat feet and prescribed some insoles for my shoes.
It was actually amazing how much the insoles helped. Not only was exercise more comfortable but I could stand forever with no ankle pain. I then started to reconsider all my footwear and invested in Birkenstocks which were great. Later on, I bought Danskos. These days, Birkenstocks and Danskos are pretty much all I wear. When exercising, I put my insoles in my sneakers and in the winter, I put them in my boots. No matter what, I need the support. Or so I thought.
After reading many articles like this one from Mark's Daily Apple about the benefits of going barefoot, I wanted to give it a shot. Already, I knew it was better for babies to be barefoot and so I had always refused to put anything more than soft-soled leather shoes on them up until about age 2. But I was a bit skeptical about going barefoot myself. I certainly did not want to injure myself again. But I was intrigued. Could it be possible that my feet didn't need more support but less? That flat feet are not broken but are only one variety of normal feet? I was intrigued enough to give them a try.
I decided to purchase a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers despite the fact that they looked so odd. They felt great on my feet and I loved the feeling of being so close to the ground. The first time I tried running in them on concrete was a complete disaster. Lots of pain and it did not feel natural at all. But using them to lift was good. Because I was so close to the ground, I felt more grounded when lifting heavy weight. And there is lots to support barefoot lifting or lifting in shoes specifically designed for the purpose. Wearing the Vibrams to do my cardio was amazing. When jumping around doing cardio, I could feel my feet getting stronger and learning how to work. It felt so good, I started wearing them all the time, everywhere I went.
But I couldn't wear the Vibrams throughout my pregnancy because I did experience some swelling in my feet--severe enough that I couldn't even get the glove-like shoe on. And now, after the pregnancy, I cannot imagine wearing them! Why? Because it feels like my feet have really changed. Perhaps the arches have fallen even more. But boy, even walking around barefoot in the house can be excruciating. And so I know I need to do it more to strengthen my feet again. But honestly, ouch! I'm not ready to push through the pain just yet but I am trying to walk around barefoot for a couple of minutes daily to see if it helps any.
Eventually, I want to get back to wearing Vibrams full-time but right now, I am devoted to my Birkenstocks. Even though I feel like the Danskos offer more support, I don't wear them as often because I'm afraid of falling over while carrying Z3 since Danskos are a platform type shoe.) I am pretty sure that when I get back to exercising, things will improve with my feet. I mean, I will get stronger all over but t's just so interesting to me--such a noticeable change.
So would I recommend Vibrams? Absolutely. They take some getting used to because your feet definitely have to learn how to work in them but in the end, I think they are well worth it. So much so that I'd like to get my children wearing them.
How about you? What do you think of the whole barefoot movement?