Another Voice – Check your toes

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This story was published by The Barefoot Alliance, in 2010, and is so amazing, I had to put it on my blog.

The writer of this articles is Mrs. Dotty Coplen, an 85 years old lady. I can only wish I will have the ability to take a drastic step as she did, when I reach that age (hopefully).

Here it is:

By Dotty Coplen
Updated: 11/22/2010 05:08:59 PM

As I approach my 85 birthday I have just learned about the natural way to walk. An important bit of information that I have been missing all these years.

My shoe history goes way back and I have worn most varieties. There were oxfords, patent leather Mary Janes, gym shoes, tennis shoes, bowling shoes, saddle shoes, high heel shoes, zoris, Birkenstocks and finally sensible shoes with arch support. At each purchase the focus was on the length and width of my foot. Some tine in the l940’s an Xray of my foot in the shoe was an added feature at the shoe store. Never a word about natural walking and using my toes.

No one ever talked about my toes. Then while visiting my son he introduced me to the book, “Born to Run”. A story that described the Mexican tribesmen, the Tarahumara, who ran barefoot in long distant races and won. I have never been a marathon runner, a distant runner, not even a jogger so it was not a book that I would have chosen on my own. My son and his father have done the distant running so I started reading it out of family interest. Proving we never know when vital new information will find us.

Interlaced in the story of all the committed runners, their lifestyles, their challenges and determination were the inevitable injuries: hip, knees ankles, tendons. There were comments expressed by doctors correlating the noticeable increase in leg injuries when high tech engineering of sport shoes was introduced in the 1970’s. The runners stories were interesting but it was the physiology that really got my attention.

In addition to the barefoot Tarahumara there was also an unconventional runner who wore 5 Fingers.

Even though I have not been a runner, I have had knee and foot problems, painful enough that I could not walk without a walker. Also a history of tightness in my hips that make going up and down steps a challenge. Some visits to Patty, my favorite acupuncturist, cured those episodes but left me wondering what I was doing to bring on these unpleasant events.

I started exploring 5 Fingers and barefoot running on the Internet and discovered the importance of toes. News to me. The natural foot position was described as placing the weight on the outside of the heel, rolling to the inner ball of the foot and toes

Looking more closely at my feet and toes it was clear my toes bent down like hammer toes. I had noticed that before but it did not register as a cause of any of my problems. All it took was Googling barefoot running and there were the picture of healthy toes and shoe bound hammer toes.

So off to the store for my very own pair of 5 Fingers. That was in late Aug. and what a difference it has made in my life. My toes no longer curl down, they are flat on the ground. My balance is improved. Guess what, balance is one of the most important toe functions. I am also aware of how different my leg and hip muscles feel. I changed my whole walking posture in an improved way. It has made such a difference for me, I want to spread the word.

Reading “Born to Run,” Googling barefoot running and five fingers could also make a big difference in your life. Give it a try.

Dotty Coplen is a Ukiah resident.

* * *  Note:

Mrs. Coplen might have not walked barefoot, can you blame her? at that age?. But she understood what shoes are doing to the human feet, and took the step necessary for her to be able to walk straight and proud.

Hoping there are a lot more like her.

What a remarkable woman !!!




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