If your knee hurts, if you've had knee surgery or if you have a torn meniscus, what I'm telling you today is of interest to you.
It's a bit long, but it might be worth reading to the end.
The point is that I know a lot of people with knee problems.
And it's strange.
I'll explain it to you with an example.
Birds can fly and they use their wings to do so.
Humans can walk, run, jump .... and for that we use our legs.
It is as simple as that.
Evolution has provided birds and humans with the necessary tools for their movements.
It is absurd to think that a bird, simply because it flies, would injure its wings.
Can you imagine a sparrow telling its sparrow couple that its wings hurt from flying?
Joking aside, that happens in humans.
Clearly something is wrong. Something is not being done right.
And although there are several factors at play, one stands out above all others.
We were not born with shoes on our feet, just as sparrows were not born with 'wing-coverings'.
Of all the people I know with knee problems, I'm going to tell you what happens to Santi.
I remembered his problem when I was watching Got Talent, the programme presented by another Santi.
It was Saturday morning, while I was waiting for 9 o'clock.
Next to me, Fernando and Guillermo don't take their eyes off the screen.
I do the same, gulping my coffee.
The three of us are hypnotised, we look like statues watching television.
The show is about a boy who paints with light an image that has been repeated a thousand times:
'Pollution from a factory threatens the survival of the poles and the rest of the animals on Earth.''
In the darkness, only the artist's precise strokes are visible.
One message stands out in the painting: Let's take care of the Earth.
Although it has been repeated thousands of times, the problem is still present.
I quickly associate the message with feet.
The Earth, like our feet, has a problem.
These are two real problems.
The climate is changing and few people are spared from foot discomfort, pain and injury.
Back to Santi and his knees.
He is 49 years old, a fireman and wears safety boots every day.
His feet are too flexible, weak and with a flat plantar arch.
And he has had surgery on both knees. Partial tear of the inner meniscus.
That was about a year ago.
He calls to ask if he can use the minimalist shoes, because a physiotherapist does not recommend them.
When he finishes talking I tell him:
"No doubt about it. You of all people should wear minimalist shoes.
And I'll explain why:
When the foot rests on the ground, it does so on its outer side, then it turns inwards. This is what we call the pronation movement of the foot. The turn from the outside to the inside.
The big toe and the structure of the plantar arch are responsible for stopping this movement.
If they are not able to stop it, the knee follows the movement of the foot, turning inwards more than usual.
The result is that there is more pressure on the inside of the knee. This continued pressure over time is responsible for irregular wear of the meniscus.
This is why, barefoot or with minimalist shoes with a thin sole, the pronation movement is reduced.
Because being closer to the ground there is less movement, less twisting.
And you also tone up your leg muscles. The foot feels the ground more and the muscles are strengthened.
Just what you need, to tone the muscles that form the arch of the foot".
Santi says that now he has it clear and that he is much calmer.
He is using Vibram Fivefingers since he was operated and he feels really good but the physio's comment made him doubt.
We continue talking ....
About the role of the 0 drop, the flexibility of the shoe, the width, the problem of the cushioning for the knees.... and that the important thing is to use this shoe as long as possible, both in his work and in his free time.
Finally, he asks for advice on how to buy minimalist shoes for walking and running in the mountains.
I recommend the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II FG.
Because it has a very little sole, only 8 mm thick, no heel and is very flexible.
With these shoes sometimes you can 'feel' some stones, but it's much better than damage your knees.
Santi says that some times it happened with Fivefingers, but after a few minutes he doesn't feel pain anymore, it's over very soon.
Santi's thing is not easy. Not everybody is able to feel that momentary discomfort. But the foot gets used to it quickly.
However, if you damage your knees it is forever.
No doubt, Santi bets for the health of his feet and knees.
Pd: And if, unlike Santi, you prefer just walking in the mountains, there are the new ones:
This version of the Tracker is more breathable, almost waterproof and has a powerful sole made by Michellin.
The health of your knees starts with your feet.
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