Are your feet strong enough?

Full disclosure; I’m reading Born to Run by Christopher McDonnall. It’s brilliant and as well as the narrative arc of his involvement with a mysterious Mexican tribe of runners it discusses all things running. I’m particular barefoot running.

I haven’t fully reconciled my thoughts on this but I’ve been applying the principles into my practice for years.

I notice, for example that climbers don’t get plantar fasciitis (PF), even those that run. People who do get PF are often short distance runners of not runners at all. And could afford good footwear.

So all the stretching, ice bottle rolling and wearing quality trainers didn’t affect the outcome. So I started looking further up the kinetic chain.

I found instability in the hip and weakness in the calf. It seemed as though the trainers were turning the foot muscles off. So I changed my approach; ballet, single leg work and lots of toe standing. Works really well.

So why don’t climbers get PF and how does this apply to barefoot running? The foot is inherently strong due to standing on little holds or having to support itself on impact. What was particularly interesting in McDonnall’s book is how he describes the impact force through the foot actually increases with padding.

Am I going to advocate barefoot running? Not yet but watch this space….

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