What a podiatrist said in front of a group of popular runners was not something he learned at university.
Nor did he learn it in the master's degree on sports performance that he has in the wall of his office.
It was something he learned by researching on his own.
"After a degree and a master's degree, nobody told me about it, and yet it is the solution to many problems."
Those were his words.
The thing was 9 years ago, in a talk I gave together with my friend Ramón.
We talked about natural running technique, running shoes before Nike existed, personal experiences, and so on.
During the question and answer session, a podiatrist presented the case of a patient.
He said that the runner came in with plantar fasciitis and tibial periostitis. If you haven't heard of these, they are among the most common injuries in runners.
He made him some soft insoles to alleviate the pain of the fasciitis, but he knew that this solution would not prevent the periostitis.
When the patient returned for a check-up, he saw what he already knew. The fasciitis had improved, but the periostitis was the same or worse.
So what did the podiatrist do?
Did he recommend a change of activity?
You know, to cycle when your knees or feet are weak?
Another type of insoles knowing that they wouldn't work?
A change of shoes to those soft Sketcher type shoes?
He did what every professional should do when he can't find the solution.
He searched, found another solution and applied it.
A few months later his patient was running a mountain marathon without pain.
What the podiatrist did is something few people see.
He realised a fundamental detail.
One that seems easy, but is not.
And even more so coming from a profession where everything is fixed with 'patches' on the feet, with insoles.
He realised the importance of bare feet.
He says that no one had ever told him about the benefits of respecting the foot before.
Neither the expensive Master's degree he did, nor of course the university.
And with that detail, with just that, the runner's life changed.
That's the way it is: people who learn and people who don't.
Respect the foot.
Or almost, with minimalist shoes.
The shoes the patient used still exist.
That's the thing about good things, they last over time, something like the Lindy effect applied to footwear.
Merrell Trail Glove.
Men, women and children.
Health starts with your feet.
- Antonio Caballo