Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Feet Pain and Barefoot Walking

I have mentioned on my blog many times that there is a direct connection between my digestive issues and joint pain.  I have had some digestive issues return lately and as they slowly made their way back into my life, the pain in my feet returned and bending my fingers became more difficult.  The pain in my joints was at its worse when my digestive issues were at their worse.  This week, I have made some changes that have improved my digestion and guess what?  The pain in my feet is almost gone and my fingers are bending with more ease.  Amazing.

By Friday of last week my feet hurt so bad I didn't want to leave the house because that meant putting shoes on my feet.  Even my Dansko clogs which usually are my best friend sent a shooting pain up the balls of my feet and into each toe.  I decided to give my feet a break over the weekend and not wear shoes.  No shoes, no pain.  When I did have to go out, I put my Vibram KSO Treks on and wore them out.  This was the first weekend since Christmas, when I received my Vibrams, that I felt it was warm enough to wear them outside. (I have been working out in them at home.)  Wow!  They make a huge difference.  Although the hammertoes on my right foot struggle to make their way into each individual toe, the left foot goes right in and feels wonderful once it is on.   Merrell has a new barefoot shoe out that I would LOVE to try since I wouldn't have to fit each toe into its own space, but spending another $100 on a pair of shoes isn't going to happen anytime soon. 

Yesterday morning I started reading The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes by Daniel Howell, M.D.  I love it!  I keep thinking about the following statement that I read on page three, "Encased within shoes whenever we exercise, our feet miss out on the action; while the rest of our body gets a workout, our feet are unable to flex, twist, grasp, feel or breathe.  The stench of the sneaker and the itch of athlete's foot are just two ways our feet are trying to tell us something is wrong.  Modern research supports their often ignored cries, however, and the evidence is clear: Barefoot walking is essential to healthy feet and the constant use of shoes is harming us."


  1. Hi Cathy...
    It's astonishing, isn't it, how one part of our body can so indirectly affect another? I'd never have associated digestive problems with RA-related foot pain in my wildest dreams. You are SO observant! It's a lesson I'll take to heart, and thanks for sharing it.

    It's terrific that those "shoes" make your sore feet feel so much better, too. I'm interested in trying the Vibram shoes that don't require fitting individual toes into individual toe-gloves, though. My toes are so short and tight together that I can only imagine the blue air around me as I tried to put them on... the thought makes me laugh out loud.

    Glad you're feeling better overall after a shift in eating habits again. I hope you'll continue to feel well and energetic--your strength and persistence is a real inspiration to me.

    Walk in peace... :o)

  2. Hope that the foot pain stays away. How interesting that you've found that connection. I wish I could find any sort of connection, stress might be the only thing for me, but even that is quite hard to pin down.
    I can't wait for summer and walking barefoot through grass in the park :)

  3. I concur with the article. Many in my family would tell you that I hate, yes strong word I know, Hate shoes. I don't like anything on my feet if given the choice. I much prefer to let my skin breath, my joints bend to their hearts desire and for them to be cooled by the room air. I find when I am barefoot, I experience less pain. However, that said, I am enduring some serious heel pain lately which coincided with my hands.

    I too have bowel/intestine issues when coming into a flare. It's always my first heads up. Then the headache, the hip and so on.

    I hope you feet find freedom in which to do whatever they must feel better.

  4. Hi Cathy,
    You may think this strange, but in order to get work outs in I often run in place at night if I happen to wake up, or early in the morning while the kids are sleeping. I first did this to fit in time to work out but now that we have a work out facility at our new place, I find myself preferring to work out at home. I don't wear shoes. Maybe this is why.

  5. Kyle has been wearing soft stars barefoot shoes and he loves them. You should check them out. the site:

  6. I love the idea of the shoes, but I seem to be really sensitive to cold. Even a draft can make my feet freeze. Do you have that problem at all?

  7. Morgan,
    Yes, I have the cold feet and hand problem too and have to be very careful when I am outside. That is why barefoot walking will come slowly for me. :(

    We have had a few recent days with warm temps that I have worn my Vibrams outside for short periods. The style I have, KSO Treks, can be worn with toe socks which is nice because even in the house I need extra warmth. I think this spring they will be a wonderful way of introducing my feet to barefooting, which is my goal.

  8. Have you read the book Earthing? You can order it on amazon. A very good read and related to what you have found re going barefoot. They have a good website too. Interesting testimonials re RA.


  9. Have you tried Bioset enzymes ( for your digestive problems?

  10. Isabelle, I have checked out there website! I like it!

    Anonymous, Yes, I used Bioset for quite a while and it didn't do the trick. :( Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Thanks for sharing this blog, Nowadays i see a lot of people doing bare foot running. They say it is beneficial, after reading your blog, i am curious of running with it.