Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Barefoot Running

If you are your training for the upcoming Bridge run you may see on race day a few runners without shoes. Barefoot running over the past several years has become more popular. This style of running has been propelled in part by the success of the bestselling book , Born to Run. The theory is that running barefoot may minimize the stress on the body.

Dr. Brown has just recently run barefoot during a local 5K race at Thanksgiving and will be running the bridge run barefoot as well. Dr. Brown and Dr. Saffer highly recommend that the transition to barefoot running should go at a very slowly pace at first and gradually increase mileage in order to avoid potential stress injury in the foot. We also feel that having a solid arch structure is paramount to consider if you are the right candidate to barefoot run.

Barefoot running involves forefoot and midfoot striking, which is supposed to minimize the impact of your body colliding with a surface. Striking the ground with your heel first, on the other hand, falls in line with running in regular shoes.

Previous research has shown that striking on the heels might mean hitting the ground with three times more weight than barefoot running. Daniel Leiberman, a Harvard University professor known for his research on barefoot running, has found that forefoot-striking runners have lower risks of repetitive stress injuries, and that going barefoot is more energy efficient.

The Associated Press, however, reported last spring that doctors have noticed an increase in the  number of associated running injuries including achilles tendonitis and metatarsal stress fractures. It was also noted that those injuries were mainly said to be found in people who took up barefoot running quickly, rather than slowly building their up their mileage over time. Another issue with barefoot running is stepping on foreign objects. I have seen in my practice a greater number of foreign bodies in the foot from stepping on foreign objects while running.

If you are considering barefoot running or have been barefoot running and would like to be evaluated please contact us at our office for an appointment.

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