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Do you have Knee and Hip Pain? It could be your shoes

Updated on April 12, 2014

What Hurts?

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How many others in pain?

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Were you born with shoes on your feet?

Were you born with shoes on you feet? This may be a strange but It is a valid question. Spending time thinking about the answer may lead to vast improvements in your chronic foot, knee, hip or back pain. Regardless of if you believe in creationism or evolution we can agree on one simple thing. That we just were not born wearing shoes. We come out barefoot and before shoes were invented we walked around barefoot. Our feet and how they connect to our body is designed to be barefoot. Everyone one of us have a certain amount of padding on our feet and the ability to develop thick skin on the bottom of our feet for protection. It is because we wear shoes that our feet get soft and we experience pain walking around barefoot over rocks and such.

Even more important is our skeleton. Our joints and skeleton are made to align in certain ways that position our whole body to work in unison. Like any other foundational structure, if you place it out of optimal alignment the remainder of the structure becomes weak and unstable. If you were to place a supporting wall of a house at an angle, eventually over time, it would begin to collapse under the weight it is bearing. Place the position of your foot and heel out of position and over time you joints and ligaments will start to fail under the weight they bear as well.

If you look at our history with footwear we did not start out in Nike's. For many years shoes we re not worn at all. Over the years, being smart creatures, we discovered that we can add further protection from rocks and thorns by adding an external layering or covering. These early versions could also protect us from the cold elements as we inhabited various climates. For many years shoes consisted of very thin animal hides that work with the natural flex points of our foot and kept our heels and knees in natural alignment.

It was not until recently did we start playing with heel height for aesthetics or synthetic materials for added cushioning. Not to mention the added "Support". This support actually compounds the issues by not allowing out foot and toe bones to splay into natural positions while walking.

Since the invention of the modern shoe and sneaker a whole host of chronic knee and hip problems have been introduced. Our solution to that, well add more padding of course. While it may provide temporary relief over time the same problems return and often lead to more debilitating conditions. Often resulting in long term damage and surgery to correct.

While I marvel at modern medicines ability to cut something open, re-arrange things and sew you back together. I find it strange that simpler more natural options are not considered. As a people spend a small fortune on supplements to improve joint health every month. There are other options to consider that may eliminate the pain for good.

I suffered with knee pain since I was a teenager. My right knee was weak and always strained, popping or in some state of pain. As I got older things only got worse. There was not real reason, nothing was torn. No major injuries not visible cause. In my 30's I was considering finding a surgeon who could figure it out. I am glad I never did. Today I no longer have knee pain.

African Tribal Footwear
African Tribal Footwear | Source

What do they know that we don't?

Think about how many people you know with foot, knee or hip pain complaints. What are their ages? Do we really live so long, but fall apart so young? or are we doing something to ourselves that we can correct?

In underdeveloped counties chronic knee and hip pain as we know it in the United States is almost non-existent. Many elderly retain normal joint function well into advanced age. There is not the need to surgery, there is not millions spent of supplements every year. The answer is almost too simple to be true. They either go barefoot or wear very minimal shoes that allow the foot to work in it's natural position. I am sure we have all see the National Geographic shows with trail guide leading teams up and down mountains wearing nothing more than flip-flops. Many of these cultures will spend an extreme amount of time barefoot when at home or in villages.

In some ways their economic situation has spared them years of unnecessary pain and suffering.

Research shows strong statistical ties to foot, knee and joint pain in both income and areas of western fashion influence. In developing asian markets, as income improves and western fashion retailers get footholds the number of knee and hip surgeries has also increased.

However in the rural areas where the benefits of a burgeoning economy are not felt, the rate remains steady and very low.

My Favorite work shoes

My well worn favorite pair of Clark's Driving Mocs
My well worn favorite pair of Clark's Driving Mocs | Source

My Discovery

I can't really claim it as my discovery. But I did start to notice that in the summer on vacation that my knee, and now hip, pain would go away. I started to put together that at the beach I am always in flip-flops or barefoot. Rarely if ever in sneakers or shoes.

I stated researching and reading online. In the paleo diet community there were a lot of similar stories to mine, and people were having success with changing the profile of their shoes. The idea was that by moving to shoes and sneakers with a lower or no heal rise and a wider toe box that your foot is returned into it's originally intended position. This in return places you joints and other skeletal connections back where they are supposed to be.

By replacing my sneakers with minimalist or barefoot running shoes and switching from dress shoes to no heal driving moccasins my knee pain slowly started to improve. I also make an effort to spend quality barefoot time around the house.

The end result after three years is ZERO knee and hip pain. No more pain medication, no more taking the elevator at work on Bad days. It is unreal!. Think about this.. I went from a lifetime of knee paint and considering surgery to Zero pain, just by changing my shoe style.

Go Ahead and give it a try! While it may take a few months for inflammation to reduce and healing to start. It is a far better alternative to surgery.If your want to see results make a commitment to stop hurting your feet.

  1. Pick up new barefoot sneakers or minimalist sneakers by New Balance or Merrelle.
  2. Go with a simple flexible sole shoes with no heel rise.
  3. Spend some quality barefoot time every day
  4. Limit time spent in heeled shoes to only what is necessary.
  5. Give it time, after a lifetime of wearing shoes that hold you foot in the wrong position this new natural position will feel strange. You might see an increase is foot discomfort to start but it will get better.
  6. Start Living Better!!

History of Shoes

7000 BC
1st known shoes
Simple Leather and Cord Sandles
3500 BC
Ice Man Shoe
Bear Skin Full Covering Laced with Cord
1500 BC
Egyptian Sandles
Thongs made from Papyrus Leaves
400 AD
Simple Flat Shoes Woven from Jute
1400 AD
Pattens Appear in Europe
Flat Heeled Predecessor to the modern boot
1600 AD
The Modern Shoe Appears
Leather Shoes with Hard Leather Sewn on Soles
Womes Heeled Shoes appear
1900's AD
The Use of Synthetic Rubber for Soles
Converse All Start Sneaker
The First Sneaker Featuring a thick Flat Rubber Sole
1970 AD
The Modern Raised Heel Running Shoe Introduced
Rate of Knee Replacements Double Every 10 years

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Thank You kindly

© 2013 Robert W Shaw


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