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mathewjgano
10-16-2010, 02:56 PM
Hi folks! I recently read some folks as saying that wearing tabi helps with their knees. I was just curious if anyone would/could elaborate. Is it the isolation of the big toe somehow? Something else?
I'm sure there are other threads about knee pain, but while I'm here: What are other good practices for protecting and strengthening the knees?
Take care,
Matt

Janet Rosen
10-16-2010, 04:52 PM
I can't speak to tabi. From my own experience as a nurse, a knee injured person, and having talked to lots of professionals and other knee injured folks and kept up n reading studies, some "best practices" include:
keep quads and hamstrings both strong AND in relative balance to each other. Women in particular tend to not keep hamstrings as strong as quads plus tend to engage quads in some circumstances where men use hamstrings (a seeming paradox but bear n mind hamstrings are both flexors in opposing the quads AND extensors of the hip).
Good body machanics to keep shoulders, hips knees and toes aligned to prevent torquing.
Keeping wt down: each pound one gains or loses is four pound of pressure on the knees. A five pound wt loss is like putting down a 20 pound bag of groceries....

WilliB
10-16-2010, 10:19 PM
Hi folks! I recently read some folks as saying that wearing tabi helps with their knees. I was just curious if anyone would/could elaborate. Is it the isolation of the big toe somehow? Something else?
Matt

I wondered about that too. Maybe tabi was typo for knee pad?
Fwiw, I donīt think I have ever seen anybody here appearing with tabi for Aikido practise.
Maybe in other countries they donīt take so much care to keep the tatami clean?

Eric in Denver
10-16-2010, 11:00 PM
I bought some of those five-fingered shoes from Vibram and they have ended up helping my knees. I had never really recognized it, but my two smalls toes on each foot were sort of atrophied and my ankles were really weak. After spending the summer wearing them a couple of hours a day, my toes, arches, and ankles all got stronger. That, along with a lot of horse stance based solo exercises and extra stretching, led to better strength and more sensitivity in my feet. I realized that a lot of my knee issues were from putting weight on the wrong part of my foot when doing tenkan, and this was the source of my knee pain.

niall
10-17-2010, 01:27 AM
Very useful idea for a thread. In this study in France (211 aikidoka) nearly half had knee problems. The problems were worse among yudansha and people who had studied aikido for more than five years. There was no statistical difference between men and women. Only 10% of the problems were the result of aikido accidents.

http://aikidobudoclub.free.fr/spip.php?article55

Janet's point about good body mechanics is really important. But years of suwari waza is going to have an effect.

In Japan people occasionally do train in tabi - usually for a medical reason like a cut or an infection. I never heard of them being beneficial for your knees.

Janet Rosen
10-17-2010, 01:28 AM
I bought some of those five-fingered shoes from Vibram and they have ended up helping my knees.

Thanks for posting! I'd been wondering about those...just tonight over dinner my mom, my husband and I were chatting about babies and how old they are when they get put into shoes (mom started volunteering at a preschool and noted most of the kids toss their shoes aside when they run into the outdoor play area). I said that humans are built to walk just fine without "proper arch support" and my opinion was shoes out to be there to protect our skin from punctures and not much else (well, to look cool, but that's another issue :)) ... Guess I'm gonna have to save my $$....

chillzATL
10-17-2010, 08:55 AM
I bought some of those five-fingered shoes from Vibram and they have ended up helping my knees. I had never really recognized it, but my two smalls toes on each foot were sort of atrophied and my ankles were really weak. After spending the summer wearing them a couple of hours a day, my toes, arches, and ankles all got stronger. That, along with a lot of horse stance based solo exercises and extra stretching, led to better strength and more sensitivity in my feet. I realized that a lot of my knee issues were from putting weight on the wrong part of my foot when doing tenkan, and this was the source of my knee pain.

I had very similar problems iwth both my last two toes and my ankles. My toes were starting to curl under and were very squished, which was giving me a feeling of walking on a blade rather than a nice, wide foot and my ankles were just weak from far too many sprains playing b-ball and not enough rehab to get them better. The five fingers have really helped a lot. I love them and wear them every chance I get.

This really plays into what Janet said as well. Tabi, Five fingers or anything that doesn't offer arch support is going to force you to use your ankle more to absorb impact rather than letting the shoe do it which in turn is going to strengthen your foot/ankle/legs.

chillzATL
10-17-2010, 09:00 AM
Thanks for posting! I'd been wondering about those...just tonight over dinner my mom, my husband and I were chatting about babies and how old they are when they get put into shoes (mom started volunteering at a preschool and noted most of the kids toss their shoes aside when they run into the outdoor play area). I said that humans are built to walk just fine without "proper arch support" and my opinion was shoes out to be there to protect our skin from punctures and not much else (well, to look cool, but that's another issue :)) ... Guess I'm gonna have to save my $$....

wrestling type shoes are also a good alternative and are a lot cheaper than the five fingers. They're basically just a thin flat bottom, no arch support, no padding.

WilliB
10-17-2010, 09:18 AM
wrestling type shoes are also a good alternative and are a lot cheaper than the five fingers. They're basically just a thin flat bottom, no arch support, no padding.

Or you could go the whole hog and get topless sandals:
http://www.topless-sandal.com/shipping.php?sandalsSid=8e7cf98eb207c417442702295e40c76d

:freaky:

Eric in Denver
10-17-2010, 09:33 AM
Thanks for posting! I'd been wondering about those...just tonight over dinner my mom, my husband and I were chatting about babies and how old they are when they get put into shoes (mom started volunteering at a preschool and noted most of the kids toss their shoes aside when they run into the outdoor play area). I said that humans are built to walk just fine without "proper arch support" and my opinion was shoes out to be there to protect our skin from punctures and not much else (well, to look cool, but that's another issue :)) ... Guess I'm gonna have to save my $$....

I found the five-fingers on a discount website for $65; that isn't much more than most folks pay for their Nike or Reebok or whatever. REI carries them, I think for around $80. I am a poor grad student, and I felt this money was very well spent.

However, be prepared for people to look at you like you are crazy when you are wearing them!:D

Janet Rosen
10-17-2010, 12:04 PM
However, be prepared for people to look at you like you are crazy when you are wearing them!:D
my first reply was Oh like THAT would be a change :-)
but the truth is I live in northern California where a gal can go walking in a corset, striped leggings, fringed jacket and motorcycle booots and be considered well within the cultural norm!

Pauliina Lievonen
10-17-2010, 05:04 PM
http://personal.inet.fi/yritys/mutka/5950AB.jpg

In the summer I like to wear something like this - they're meant for indoor gym class for kids at school, but also sold at adult sizes in Finland. Dunno if it's a purely Finnish phenomenon though, we do like to take our outdoors shoes off indoors. :) They have a thin soft leather sole that feels like wearing a sock and not much more. And they cost 3-4 € at a supermarket near my parents place.

They're not water proof though so just for nice weather.

Was going to buy a pair of those five figer things until I realized I had a much cheaper option.

kvaak
Pauliina

mathewjgano
10-20-2010, 02:50 PM
Just a quick thank you to the folks who posted! I appreciate it! (I was particularly hoping you would post information, Janet!)
Take care all!

WilliB
10-21-2010, 12:23 AM
http://personal.inet.fi/yritys/mutka/5950AB.jpg

In the summer I like to wear something like this - they're meant for indoor gym class for kids at school, but also sold at adult sizes in Finland. Dunno if it's a purely Finnish phenomenon though, we do like to take our outdoors shoes off indoors. :)

It is certainly a Japanese phenomenon too.

One of the aspects of living here and then visiting Europe and then seeing some people stomping through their houses in their street shoes is to feel totally disgusted. How can they do that?

Michael Varin
10-21-2010, 02:29 AM
I'm not sure if tabi protect the knee joint, but i far as other good practices...

Check out Bulletproof Knees by Mike Robertson, really anything by him or Eric Cressey. I have learned a ton from these guys, and it has made a big difference.

The biggest problems are typically lack of mobility in the hip and/or ankle, and weak glutes. Improving those areas really helps the knees.

I always workout in bare feet.

lbb
10-21-2010, 08:50 AM
A friend was telling me about the five-toed shoes yesterday -- she said that apparently you hate them for the month, but that they end up changing how you walk somehow, maybe more as a result of a thin sole than the five toes as such. I'm not sure how well these will work in the cold, snowy and slushy weather of Massachusetts, but I am very interested to find out more.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/index.cfm

lbb
10-21-2010, 01:13 PM
Another alternative, not five toed: Soft Star Shoes (http://www.softstarshoes.com).

Review here (http://freetheanimal.com/2010/06/out-with-the-vibram-five-fingers-and-in-with-the-soft-star-runamoc.html) from someone who switched from the Vibrams.

Basia Halliop
10-21-2010, 01:35 PM
It is certainly a Japanese phenomenon too.

One of the aspects of living here and then visiting Europe and then seeing some people stomping through their houses in their street shoes is to feel totally disgusted. How can they do that?

I've felt the same way when I encountered the phenomenon of people wearing shoes inside their house, and I'm from Canada... It's not just a Finnish thing.

As far as the topic relates to knees, it means that between being at home and being in the dojo, I only have to wear shoes about half the day... I agree that it seems much healthier.