In the world of running, opinions vary greatly over how much cushioning in a pair of shoes is best to prevent running injuries. Many argue that simply going barefoot is the safest option. However, some experts claim that shoes don’t matter at all in avoiding injuries, and that individual biomechanical factors like BMI and pronation are more important.
“The best shoe for a runner is highly individualized,” a scientist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst named Allison Gruber told Outside. “What may prevent or ‘cure’ injuries for one person may cause them or make them worse for another.”
It’s best to be informed about all the different types of cushioning in footwear before one decides to switch to barefoot running. To learn more, call a podiatrist like Dr. Jeffrey Wachtel of Wachtel Family Foot Care. Dr. Wachtel will discuss the benefits of barefoot running with you and help you make the transition.
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 one of our offices in Lansdale, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
Read more about Barefoot Running.