Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Barefoot Podiatrist

What a great story:

"...Mr Bloor's view of the human foot has now become much more optimistic about the state of people's feet in general.

"'I previously believed that 80 per cent of people were born with problems with their feet and needed orthotics to optimise their feet and leg function. Never once did we consider that the human foot could cope on its own.'

"The epiphany came when he read about the Tarahumara Indians, Ethiopian and Kenyan runners who ran without shoes or with minimal footwear.

"'I now believe very strongly that most feet, given a chance, can support themselves and that feet function best without the hindrance of shoes,' he said.

"The podiatrist certainly practices what he preaches. He has gone barefoot in everyday life since July last year – only donning shoes when essential for protection or when going to church so as not to offend the minister.

"As he puts it: 'I believe footwear should play an important but infrequent role in our lives for protection just like we use gloves for our hands.

"'And just like gloves we should remove the footwear as soon as the purpose for them has been achieved.'

"The switch from our normal shoe-wearing lives should not be rushed as a new way of moving uses different muscles which need to be gently introduced to new levels of exertion.

"'I warn patients to be cautious about getting carried away with enthusiasm and advise a slow, careful transition into barefoot activities by going for short walks at first and gradually increasing the time spent barefoot walking,' said Mr Bloor.

"...Mr Bloor prescribes barefoot beach walking and running to strengthen weak foot and leg muscles and to mobilise stiff joints – for the more adventurous, coastal paths provide ideal routes for people wanting to go barefoot trekking or hiking."

Via Dan Howell's Facebook page.