I'm so glad to have found this particular thread. I injured my ankle two years back, and I am a serious, competitive runner.
I took nearly 10 months to recover, and when I eventually returned to running, I went down with a stress reaction. I mainly worked on my form to address this issue, in addition to changing my strength training routine, but I kept facing severe pain.
I took a friend's advice and began barefooting it at home, where I spend most of my time. It has really changed my life. I am a better runner now, and the ankle no longer troubles me. I also train barefoot on lawn/grass, which also helps a lot.
I have shared this with many of my running friends, but they don't think barefooting it was the gamechanger.
Now, being barefoot is more than just a means to be a better runner. It has become a political statement. I don't buy new clothes, either. The lase time I got a new shirt was 4 years back. The shirt is still in great shape. I work from home as an academic editor, and I have no need to please people with my dressing, which I think is a luxury.
Mark: Sorry about the injury. I sure missed "runner's high" after I injured my calf muscle as part of my transition to barefoot living. I'm glad you are able to run again.
Chronic aches in my knees, hips, and back disappeared after I started living barefoot.
The advise that I frequently hear on barefoot running groups, for developing the most natural gait, is to run on pavement. The theory being that there is less margin for error, and the body quickly adapts to the most efficient form for avoiding landing shock. My transition to barefoot living took a good two years to lengthen the calf-muscles and Achilles tendon, and loosen up the foot/ankle joints.
Being unable to run as much as one would like is truly depressing, so I understand what it must be like to miss or crave the "runner's high." It is such a nice feeling--face red with good blood circulation and exhaustion and the feeling of contentment after a good cool down!
I am refraining from training barefoot on pavements--at least for another 3 months. But I must certainly--and I want to--do it. Ive been imagining what a barefoot trail run must be like. That's also something I'd like to try.
And 2 years to acclimatize to barefoot living? Wow! How much do we take for granted?! Take away footwear and it necessitates a lifestyle change. Uff! Congrats on the sustained barefooting!
I'm in the middle... while I don't go barefoot I don't wear shoes either.
(neanderthal feet... ; )
Instead I wear Tevas all year round. It's California so the tan is year round as well. Now I can't stand to wear regular shoes because my feet get so hot and feel really cramped. Once you give up shoes, you never go back! (lol)
A "dutch baby" is not a baby. But this tiny ad is baby sized: