Barefoot Running Might Not Be As Beneficial As Some Say

Minimalist shoes and barefoot running may not be ideal for running.Several athletes and active participants in running have been raving for years about the benefits of running barefoot. In contrast, recent research has proven that barefoot running might not provide the same positive results for everyone.

According to a study published by The Journal of Applied Physiology, without the cushion that shoes give to your heel, runners will naturally land toward the balls of their feet every time their foot hits the floor which isn’t the ideal way to land while running. Additionally, fewer carbohydrates are actually burned when one runs barefoot.  “I always recommend that runners run the way that is most natural and comfortable for them. Unless there is some indication that you should change things, such as repeated injury, do not mess with that plan.” said Allison Gruber, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who led the study.

Allowing your body time to adjust properly to barefoot running is essential, and part of this preventative care involves talking to a podiatrist like Dr. Bruce G. Greenfield DPM of Greenfield Podiatry.  Dr. Greenfield can advise you on a running regimen, as well as provide information on techniques of barefoot running to help avoid foot pain, heel pain, and injury.

Barefoot Running

The Impact of Barefoot Running

-Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
-Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.

The Advantages of Barefoot Running

-When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced, this can reduce stress injuries.
-It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
-Balance of the body is improved and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.

The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running

-No protection while running, makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
-Blisters may form.
-Possibility of plantar fascia problems.
-Risk of getting Achilles tendonitis.

So what can runners do to make barefoot running safe? It’s best to make a slow transition from running shoes to barefoot running. Once the feet begin to adjust, try walking, then jogging and gradually increasing the distance. Minimalist running shoes may also be an option.

If you have any questions, please contact our office in Havertown, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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