I have been wearing kybun shoes exclusively for thirteen months. That is just shy of 400 days. One day this week I decided to run an experiment. What would happen if I wore something else? Would I notice any difference, I wondered? Had I done enough remedial work to risk wearing standard shoes every once in a while?
Needing to pop out to the local shops for a few things, I decided to dig out the runners I used to wear. I won’t mention the brand because I do not want to imply the brand are not good runners, because the brand IS good – just not good for me anymore. As soon as I stood up I felt as if I was standing with a forward tilt.
As I walked down the stairs my troublesome right glutes were stabbing me with every step. Now, that right side has been one of my major pain problems.
A little history for context: the general consensus of my medical professionals is the pain I experience in my glutes is driven by the degenerative change to the facet joints in my lumbar spine. In earlier articles I have talked about the radiofrequency facet joint denervation procedure that was proposed but which I avoided by virtually eliminating my pain: I believe, but cannot conclusively prove, my kybun shoes were one of the two major contributing factors to ridding myself of the pain. The other was exercise and strengthening the core. The kybun shoes enabled me to do more exercise.
Of course, I still have degenerative change in my spine. I still get pain if I overdo things on a particular day, or conversely, if I allow myself to decondition. Outside those two situations, however, I am pain free. If sitting too much has caused a flare, going for a walk will relieve it very quickly. Not the day of my experiment, however.
I was in NO pain at all when I first put those retired runners on, but admittedly I had been inactive much of the day, so the initial twinges in my glutes I put down to inactivity. Not only did walking down the stairs hurt, my gait felt very odd now. I couldn’t see myself as there are no mirrors in the vicinity, but I felt my heels weren’t hitting the ground properly. Of course they weren’t, because standard runners don’t allow that. It is the design of kybun shoes that enable the wearer to achieve a natural gait. See how the heel “flattens out” during the heel strike phase? I could really feel the difference wearing shoes that did not allow this. It was not a good feeling for me.
By the time I reached my car (yes, I was driving rather than walking in this particular instance!) I was already thinking to myself “OK, this proves it, let me put my kybun shoes back on”. It was important to me I continue the experiment, so I hopped in the car and drove to the shops.
As I walked around the shopping mall the pain was continual. It didn’t worsen, but it was there every single step. I thought to myself “I have not had to cope with this for months. I do not like this.”
When I got home, the first thing I did was take off the runners. Immediately I was back to bare feet, the pain subsided. Immediately.
I looked at my old runners nostalgically. I like the colour. I don’t like pain. Do any of us like pain? If we can alleviate or eradicate pain, we do!
Yesterday was a similar sort of day activity-wise – I was reasonably inactive early in the day. I popped on my kybun shoes to walk to the local milk-bar (you may call it a “corner shop”). Not a twinge, no pain at all. The difference really struck me.
For me, the jury is in. The more natural gait made possible by the innovative design of the kybun shoes is a major factor in my pain reduction/elimination. Yes, exercise and strengthening my core to support my damaged spine is the other major factor, but I didn’t undo or redo all that exercise in a couple of days. The variable in my little personal experiment was the footwear.
In “standard” footwear, I experienced pain. In my kybun shoes I do not experience pain.
It could be argued, if one wanted to be sceptical or take a more scientific approach, that I would need to repeat the experiment several times in order to draw any conclusions at all. I’m not going to do that. In the nearly 400 days of wearing kybun shoes I wore a favourite pair of boots to work one day because I had a dinner date after work. That was a BIG mistake, I was in a lot of pain by the end of the day and really didn’t enjoy my dinner! Another morning I had decided to wear a pair of low-heeled court shoes to match a particular outfit. I popped them on, but by the time I had pottered around my apartment getting ready to leave I had decided this was not a happening thing and changed back into a pair of my kybun shoes.
I am not an orthopaedic scientist, I am just a person who has a very grumpy spine sharing my experience in the hope it may be enlightening or encouraging. Oh, I am sure I will get the desire every now and then to wear a standard shoe for a special occasion. If I do, yes, I will pay the price.
Every person’s body is different. Even if another person has exactly the same medical diagnosis as I do on paper, the fine details of the degenerative changes will be slightly different. The hypertrophy pattern will be slightly different, or the herniated disc will be slightly less or more herniated and so on. No two people will have exactly the same experience of their condition either. There is a very thin line between a nerve being irritated or not irritated. While my experience cannot be replicated exactly by any other person, it is a very good indication, after 400 days, that kybun shoes will help. I have three pairs and apart from the three times discussed above, I wear them exclusively.
I am as pain free as I can get given the damage to my spine. I am very happy about that.
Website from Robyn Dunphy: limberation.com