After two years of heel pain, Mike Rossi was so desperate he decided to have his plantar fascia surgically severed. Then, he got another idea…

Chris –

Hopefully you get this email. I wanted to thank you for your book as you truly have saved me from surgery and reenergized my running. I have been very active my whole life, wrestling year round (running sprints barefoot during high school) and the Marine Corp (all training done in combat boots that have no cushion), but never was a runner. In 2008, I decided to take up running after my wife ran a marathon and I began training for the Marine Corp marathon in DC (I live about an hour north in MD). Nine weeks into training I developed very painful plantar fasciitis. Fast forward 2 years and I’ve still been suffering from the same fasciitis in my right foot. Every time I get over 10 miles a week it comes back, eventually getting bad enough that I have to stop running for a while. Almost four weeks ago now I finally gave in and decided to schedule endoscopic survey to cut the plantar fascia with the hope of finally being able to get back to training aggressively with the hope of one day competing competitively before I’m too old (29yrs old now so I’ve been worried my best years are passing me by with this injury).

At the same time my father bought your book, read it in 2 days then called me because he thought it was funny that you wrote the book to answer the same question, “why does my foot hurt?” We began talking about barefoot running and the concept behind it and the problem with money hungry shoe companies and their cushioning. For quick background, in 2008, when I went to see my first podiatrist he told me, following x-rays, that my feet “are really screwed up” and that I shouldn’t ever go without “quality” running shoes on…even while walking in the house. So since August 2008 I haven’t went anywhere besides the shower and bed without shoes on.

After my talk with my dad, I agreed to cancel the surgery and to try barefoot walking. For 10 days all I did was walk around the house barefoot. I even ripped out the insoles of my dress shoes so I didn’t have any cushion. That next weekend I went and bought the Vibram FiveFinger TrekSport shoes and went for my first run. My normal gait is a mid-foot strike, so I had to force myself in 2008 to do a heel-strike when I started running following advice from another runner. Wearing the Vibrams immediately brought me back to my natural stride. I ran 2.8 miles that day and it felt great. I got up the next morning and had ZERO pain in the foot! I couldn’t believe it. Two days later I did 6 miles and ran three of those at an 8:05 pace (I had to force myself to slow down and ease into barefoot running).

That was two weeks ago and over the course of the past week I’ve ran over 15 miles and I’ve had to keep myself from doing more. I have NO pain in my foot, no tightness in my calf…nothing hurts for the first time in 2yrs!

So I just wanted to say thanks for your hard work and dedication to the truth about running as it’s changed my life. I was on the edge of letting science cut me open, only to find out that all I had to do was throw away the 3 pairs of running shoes and go nearly-barefoot.

Thanks again and I hope we meet some time.

Michael Rossi


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