For the last several years, I’ve struggled with foot problems – plantar fasciitis, then bunion surgery, then more plantar fasciitis, a couple of cortisone shots but still more plantar fasciitis. I was advised to ice and stretch, to always wear supportive shoes and certainly to never go barefoot. I now have a wardrobe of supportive athletic shoes and expensive flip-flops with arch support that I’ve been wearing every time my feet touch the ground. I’ve even been wearing a special band around my foot with a pad on the bottom to give additional support to my arch. Supportive shoes, additional arch support and icing and stretching seemed to help, but still the plantar fasciitis was always slightly present and every so often it would flare up. Then I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – if you’re a runner, read it! No, if you’re a human, read it! Among many other topics that are covered throughout the book’s story, the author examines barefoot running and the science behind the construction of the foot. Now, understand, going barefoot is exactly the opposite of what my podiatrist recommends. This is one of those topics where the opinions are on polar ends and I’ve been subscribing, with some success, to one end. This week I decided to run (pun intended) to the other end. Beginning Monday morning, I quit wearing shoes indoors and I even spent a few minutes each day walking barefoot on the treadmill. No supportive shoes, no arch-support flip-flops, no arch-support bands, just my feet. What did I discover? I discovered that my feet didn’t know how to relax. After years of never being given freedom of movement, my feet scrunched up with each step, like they were looking for the arch support. It took a while to get them to fan out, to roll through the motion, but within a couple of days, they felt so much better. I did have a flare-up yesterday. It might have been the run (with shoes) – I’m trying a new running style, or it might have been the hours afterwards that I spent scurrying around the house cleaning while still wearing my running shoes instead of going barefoot. A little ice and being barefoot for the rest of the day and the flare-up ended in time for me to wear heels last night. I don’t think I’ll be shucking my shoes for barefooted running, but I’m really enjoying going barefooted as much as possible. I even painted my toenails bright red – happy feet!