Should I use barefoot shoes with orthopedic issues?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 30, 2013 at 5:22 AM

I have orthopedic issues from the waist down. My hips are slightly turned in, I have patellar subluxation with frequent dislocations (which just means my knee caps are high and to the outside and can dislocate at anytime), and I have weird arches in my feet that was described to me as having arches in the center (rather than inside) of my feet. I have had a surgery on one knee (Fulkerson's Procedure) and the condition improved, but was not cured. I wasn't able to walk on grass (uneven ground) without my knee cap slipping now I can.

I have been using orthopedic inserts in my shoes to lift the inside of my foot to help stabilize the knee a little. It has helped, but now that I am in better shape, I want to be more active and I feel weighed down by the bulky shoes I have to wear to support the inserts.

I am having a hard time finding any information on using barefoot-type shoes with orthopedic issues. Would wearing barefoot shoes improve or worsen my issues? I'm kinda leaning towards letting nature try to cure me, rather than resist it with bulky shoes and inserts. I would talk to a doctor, but every one that I have encountered thinks that the natural approach is crazy.

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on April 30, 2013
at 05:52 AM

I haven't got issues anywhere near as bad as you, but my chiropractor made me wear orthopaedic inserts for collapsing arches, which were giving me foot and knee pain. Maybe they helped, I don't really know but I got some Vibrams and started with little walks in them, building up to 20min jogs, then 30mins to an hour. And my knees and feet did feel better for it! I don't have pain any more (although the majority of my joint issues were actually gluten related so even then I'm not sure if any of this was footwear related really!

If you have serious issues go VERY carefully - start with just small walks, literally to the end of the street and back at first in them if you choose to get some as your feet do need to adjust.

I'm no orthopaedic expert so I really couldn't say for sure if it would help you. I do know I like mine though! Good luck!



on April 30, 2013
at 12:44 PM

I guess the main question to ask is, how do you feel when you actually are barefoot? If you have the money to spare on the shoes, then by all means get them and just wear them around the house, for leisurely walks, shopping, etc. If you are hesitant to spend the money, I would find a nice soft grassy field (like a soccer field) and go walking, jogging, barefoot and see what happens.



on April 30, 2013
at 01:37 PM

I can't speak from personal experience in terms of orthopedic issues but the general theory in primal circles is that going barefoot will eventually help, not hurt.

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