- Will I still be wearing these or other minimalist shoes? -Yes, I'm still wearing minimalist shoes. They are not a cure-all, but I feel worse in regular shoes, and I have much better balance and coordination in minimalist shoes.
- Will I have hip, knee, arch, or heel pain? - Some. Hip pain is still there, but is less intense and I have exercises to combat it. The pain is immediately relieved when I do these exercises. I also do these before I run, as they loosen up the hip and knee joints. I have no knee pain. Arch pain occurs when I overdo it and don't take the next few days off. Heel pain is still there, but is decreasing in duration and intensity after rising. Sometimes I can get up in the night and not have any pain.
- Tai Chi Stances, my version is slower, higher, and focused on control, a balance and weight bearing exercise:
- One Leg Balance and Squat:
- A humorous look on the Asian Squat:
- Will I be able to increase my activity level without putting on arch supports? - Yes. I'm still non-athletic, but I'm no longer toeing the line of disability. I wear no arch support unless I've had a sudden increase in activity and need a few days to recover. It usually takes overdoing it a few days in a row to cause issues.
- Will my other fibromyalgia symptoms decline when I reduce this alignment stress on my body? - Yes. Fibromyalgia is treated with mild exercise, which I am now getting regularly. The introduction of a puppy to the bedroom makes it hard to test if it's now easier or harder to get up in the morning, I haven't much of a choice once Erin starts sniffing me. I do sometimes go to bed really early to catch up on my sleep, but it's effective, I'm not still tired after getting a 10-12 hour night. I only take my muscle relaxants when I've overdone it and can't work out the kinks in a day or two.
- Will I be able and willing to walk the dog all the way around the block at least once a week instead of just walking him in the yard all the time? - Yes. My dailymile records show I've done at least two miles a week for the last seven weeks. I did four last week and regretted it, but I'm slowly improving. I started with multiple 1/4 mile walks a week, and I can do a mile at a time when fully rested now. If I incorporate running into the walk, I can go about a half mile.
Overall, the experiment is going well. The benefits are not just from the shoes, but the shoe change got me to the point where I could do the exercise that brought about the other changes. I can feel the difference if I put my old shoes back on: I am more clumsy, have less balance, and after an hour of wearing develop more hip pain than usual. The experiment officially runs for two more months, but if things continue as they are, I will be able to declare success with minor modifications of the theory at the end.