Barefoot Running – Fad or Friction

5 Mar

English: Friction Blisters on Human foot due t...Image via WikipediaAre you a runner? Does your day lack something if you can’t start the morning with that outing that really gets your blood pumping?  Well, how do you feel about this barefoot running trend?  Of course barefoot means without shoes. Then there is minimalist running which is running with “barely there” shoes. Barefoot running might be great in some instances, but here in the real world, seldom can you hand pick your surfaces each day to include soft grassy fields. More often, you see runners pounding the concrete. Without shoes, you would be increasing, immeasurably, the chance of puncture wounds, lacerations and infections. It’s sad to think about a runner being sidelined by an injury that could have so easily been prevented by wearing shoes.  But this just scratches the surface, so to speak.  What does barefoot running mean as far as support and impact to your tissues, muscles, joints and bones?

Barefoot running has become a hot debate, and there are probably arguments that can be made for running both with and without shoes, but in order for an argument to have validity, it needs to be backed by research.  Although there are people who have been running barefoot for years, have the studies really been performed and the results carefully analyzed in scientifically controlled experiments, or are people just exercising their right to preference? It will certainly be interesting to find out what the next ten years holds for this trend.  It seems that if it were truly beneficial, everyone would be running without shoes on.  Some people say that they just like the way it feels free, allowing the air to move across their feet. Similar arguments are used by motorcycle riders who refuse to wear helmets.  But there can be no denying that the use of helmets undoubtedly prevents injuries and probably saves lives.

One other point for consideration here, although it may be growing in popularity, it might not be right for you. Talk to your podiatrist and get their expert opinion on the matter, especially if you already have a foot problem that you are dealing with. You would not want to contribute to an existing problem.  If you are in need of a podiatrist, check out Dr. Teichman at PA Foot & Ankle Associates.

Do you have an experience or a story that you would like to share with us that involves barefoot running?  Please feel free to comment below, we would love to hear from you!

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4 Responses to “Barefoot Running – Fad or Friction”

  1. Efrem April 26, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    Well, I’ll put in a positive comment. I love running barefoot. I’ve been doing it for 10 years, and my feet never looked as bad as the picture you have posted there. I’ve had a few injuries along the way, but I’ve made great efforts to improve my form and it has paid off. I’ve run 5 marathons barefoot, the fastest in 3:15 and the slowest in 4:00. Before taking up barefoot running I was told that I over-pronate and require motion control shoes. On the flip side, I do occasionally see people running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, with such horrible technique it makes me cringe. Slow, sloppy cadence, hunched over, stiff shoulders etc. I actually wish some of these people would just wear shoes because they’re going to get injured no matter what they’re wearing, and I’d rather it be shoes! In that sense I am glad more people are not running barefoot.

  2. Dr. Brady March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Minimalist running is such a tough subject. I'm with Brian here, until I hear more hard information from both sides, I don't know how to feel about it. There's just so much that you expose your feet to when you're not wearing shoes.

  3. Oregon Foot Care March 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I actually posted something on this topic as well. It was about a Harvard professor's studies on the subject.

  4. Brian Cragg March 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    This is such a hot topic. It's hard to know what to think. I'm not going to fully support it or deny it till I hear more information.

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