I am sure that everyone has heard about barefoot/ minimalist running as I am constantly asked about this when my runners come and see me in the office. One important thing to remember is that barefoot running is running without any shoes and minimalist running is running with shoes designed not to change your gait pattern. (5 finger shoes) When running most people strike the ground with their heel and then transfer weight to the their forefoot and then toes. Most people are not natural forefoot strikers as barefoot runners frequently talk about. A forefoot striker is a person that when running, has the ball of the foot strike the ground first and then the calf muscles contract to prevent the heel from slamming into the ground. Since you are hitting the ground with the ball of the foot, which does not have as much cushioning as the heel, there is an increased risk of forefoot injuries such as stress fractures, neuromas, as well as Achilles tendon strains and sprains because the Achilles is working hard to prevent the heel from slamming into the ground with every stride.
In the past when most running was done on grassy or soft surfaces, this may have been an okay form of running. Unfortunately, in today’s society, most running is done on pavement or sidewalks and rarely on grassy surfaces that offer more cushioning to the feet. Constantly running on pavement as a barefoot runner, has a negative effect on the entire front of the foot. Combining this with the increasing BMI’s in the United States does not lend itself well to most people running barefoot.
If barefoot running is something that you are interested in trying or have further questions about it, call Quality Foot Care today at 215-230-9707 to make an appointment with Doylestown’s local podiatrists!
Picture from: Rochestermedia.com