02 May 2010

i don't know how to walk

image from here.

i suffer from chronic lower-back pain, though weekly massages and adjustments keep that at bay. i also suffer from chronic knee pain, which flares up after i've been doing a lot of walking, like i've been doing over the past month or so.

climbing stairs is the worst, which i can make bearable by applying a slight downward pressure at the top of my kneecap while pushing off.

both my massage therapist and chiropractor are telling me my leg muscles are too tight, and i should be stretching more. that seems to help, marginally. but i'm wondering if i'm causing the issues by wearing shoes with too much padding / arch support, and that i'm just flat out walking incorrectly.

the gf bought a pair of Vibram 5-Fingers today, which is making me jealous as I can't locate any in my size (even Vibram themselves are out). I like the idea of the "shoes", and have been walking barefoot in the house lately. What I've found is that I make a great clomping sound by coming down heel first; barefoot, that feels un-natural and un-coordinated. i then switch to ball-first (or ball-only), and that feels better but seems un-sustainable. in response, i actually googled "how to walk barefoot" and came across the posted image.

i'm hoping to re-learn how to walk, and further hoping that the effort will have a positive effect on my knees, lower-back, hips, etc.

i've spent the last year re-learning how to eat, but i'm afraid the walking may actually pose more of a challenge.

update: this Masai Barefoot Technology looks interesting, as well.


pyker said...

Avoid the masai barefoot technology thing. We tried that. It is interesting but fundamentally kind of crappy after the initial fun of balancing while standing still. Go with the vibrams.

I also call bullshit on static stretching. There is more and more evidence that it is pointless at best, counterproductive at worst. Do things that actively stretch your muscles, such as weightlifting or yoga.

For back pain, I recently got both books mentioned here at conditioning research, but have not read them yet.

Swayframe said...

Yoga can be fantastic for this. Find a good instructor and take it slow. A good instructor will pay close attention to your body alignment in various poses, as well as tell you to only push yourself as far as you feel comfortable. Yoga builds strength AND flexibility.

The other thing I've heard to do for chronic back issues is to build your abdominal muscles. They help keep your body aligned.

JustJoeP said...

Yoga has eliminated my chronic lumbar pain, instilled by years of bathing my toddler son and lifting incorrectly. It's also increased my muscle tone, 10 fold, from the blobby mass I used to be. 6 times a week, for an hour a day. If you can't find an instructor, or class you like, get a nice simple Suzanne Deason video - this is my favorite - http://www.gaiam.com/product/yoga-studio/yoga-instructors/suzanne-deason/quick+start+yoga+for+weight+loss+dvd.do - she's got 4 difficulty levels built into the same DVD, and it's the basis of my work out. (I have an aversion to attending a class of anything).

I concur with Swayframe - developed abs help the back to not over-compensate.

JustJoeP said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6-SJLlneLc =)

zim said...

sadly, the yoga place 1/2 block from me closed. more sadly, the yoga place 3/4 block from me never opened.

so if i wanted to do yoga at a studio, i'd have to go to the place one block from me.

JustJoeP said...

you live in yoga studio central!

zim said...

yoga studio update: one opened at the end of the block, closer than any of the other studios.

i still have no time to attend.

according to a neighbor who grew up here, the location of the new yoga place had formerly been occupied by the "chicken guy", who kept live chickens in a coop there and would provide fresh eggs and freshly slaughtered birds. it closed c. 1994, just a couple years before i moved in.

i'd certainly appreciate such a place now.

zim said...

also: Vibrams remain very difficult to come by, though the vibram site itself does have some in stock. i'd really love to try on the KSO and classic, in the right size, before purchasing.

i tried the new one yesterday (Baliki or somesuch) a size too big and thought it provided too much cushion -- it didn't feel barefoot at all.

i am considering ordering a pair of the soft star shoes RunAmoc.