Outdoor entrepreneur Kane Ford from Get Outside has spent years managing severe Plantar Fasciitis pain after trying everything from Orthotics, Massage and even pain medication as a way of continuing to pursue his passion for hiking. Find out how he went from hobbling around the house in the morning to pain free multi-day hiking with an effective treatment plan and transitioning to Merrell’s barefoot shoe range.
According to research approximately one in ten people will experience Plantar Fasciitis at some stage in their life, and it becomes more common in people over the age of 40. Get Outside conducted it’s own targeted survey with their database of outdoor adventurers in 2021 and found that 36% of respondents have experienced that stabbing pain in their heels which makes sense if you’re hitting the trail harder than your average punter. Faced with the reality of daily medication and painful days on and off the trail, Kane connected with Mick Breen from Melbourne Soft Tissue therapy to develop ‘Project Happy Feet’ as a way of not only improving his situation, but hopefully share the benefits with others also. You can find a range of helpful information and instructional videos from Melbourne Soft Tissue Therapy on the @GetOutside_KaneFord Instagram account designed to treat Plantar Fasciitis symptoms and improve your movement. Here is what Kane had to say about his transition to the Merrell Trail Glove and Vapor Glove Minimalist range.
“Before even looking at my feet, Mick needed to make sure my hips and glutes were functioning optimally. The hips and feet are closely connected and if one is not working well, the other will suffer. Once he opened up the hips, my hip extension dramatically improved, which then allows the glutes to work the way they were designed and take all the load off the calves, ankles and feet. Without actually treating my feet, the load was naturally taken away from that area.”
“The next phase of my treatment was to gradually transition to a minimalist shoe which Mick Breen is a massive advocate of. To be honest I was sceptical of this as I thought he was referring to the original Vibram FiveFingers style which seemed like a massive leap from traditional footwear. Mick assured me that the transition to a more minimalist shoe needed to be gradual, so that eventually I wouldn’t need the cushion, stability and rigidity of everyday “normal” shoes. This is done safely by just walking around in the shoes, with little impact and force coming from jumping or running. I started my ‘barefoot journey’ with the Merrell Trail Glove 5 which I instantly fell in love with and immediately felt the benefits of being more connected to the ground. I was wearing them at the gym, during my normal day and slowly started to take them out on the trail. Each day I was also given a few mobility and motor control exercises to help recover his feet and allow them to stay mobile.”
Kane recently road tested Merrell’s Trail Glove 6 in addition to the Vapour Glove 5 and said “I not only love the new level of connectivity to the trail the Trail Glove and Vapour Glove 5 offer, Merrell have taken the design to the next level and the fact they’re produced with a large number of recycled materials is also a great feature – so they’re better for the environment. Transitioning to a minimalist shoe for me was a key driver in treating my Plantar Fasciitis. Through a combination of expert treatment, consistent stretching and finding the right footwear for me I’m now enjoying pain-free hiking out on the trail and don’t pull up stiff and sore the next day.”
The Trail Glove 6 and Vapour Glove 5 enhance the foots natural ability to stabilize the body during rapid changes in movement. This makes the shoe perfect for fast pace running on uneven ground, trails, or even just doing workouts at the gym. They’re both available in a range of Men’s and Women’s styles, with Merrell retail exclusive colourways.