Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Everything that you are ever going to want to know about running shoes: Running Shoes Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Have you considered the Critical Thinking and Skeptical Boot Camp, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Barefoot Running: Does It Prevent Injuries?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Barefoot Running: Does It Prevent Injuries?
    Murphy K, Curry EJ, Matzkin EG.
    Sports Med. 2013 Aug 30.
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I still keep hearing on barefoot sites about all the scientific evidence that supports barefoot running ..... yet, why is that every single review like the one above all come to the same conclusion that there is no evidence .... go figure!
  4. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Of course bare foot running prevents injuries.

    A couple of examples will serve to highlight the principle.

    You go running in your nice new supportive training shoes.

    Ouch you get a blister three miles from home but being a hero you limp home and lose one training day because of your injury.

    A week later you are running in your new training shoes and twist your ankle. The support from the shoes means that the injury is not as bad as it could have been but you still can't run for two weeks.

    Two weeks after you tie your shoe laces too tightly and have a slight tendonitis of the extensor tendons, it doesn't stop you running but it counts as an injury?

    One month later you are doing fartlek in the forest, tearing down a track imagining that you are in the final 100m of the olympic 800m final when reality stabs you in the calf and you lose two weeks training from the muscle pull.

    Therefore in approximately a two month peeriod you have had four injuries associated with your running shoes.

    You decide that you are going to run barefoot from now on.

    Day one three miles from home you stand on a shard of glass. This needs three stitches, antibiotic and tetanus injections. it's one month before you gingerly decide to go for a short run barefooted on the grass in your garden. Your foot goes over the edge of one of your floor beds and without any supprt from footwear you fracture your ankle. Time lost from running three months.

    Therefore barefoot over a four month period you have only sustained Two injuries and with shoe over a two month period you have sustained four injuries.

    Barefoot for me every time.
  5. kirstyq

    kirstyq Member

    Love the common sense approach
  6. Here are my facts: This is my seventh year of running totally barefoot. I run all year long in Chicago, 8 miles a day, 5 or more days a week. I just finished running 4 days 16 miles per day. i have NO injuries, no knee or back pain. Last year i ran 6 marathons, this year I will complete 7 marathons.

    Before running barefoot, I did wear shoes, with a lot of aches, pains, and only running 1 marathon a year.
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    So how do you explain all the injuries that those who try barefoot running got and are now successfully running in shoes without injury? Their anecdote cancels out your anecdote. As clinicians we can not make a clinical decision based on anecdotes. That is why we need to rely on the science rather than the propaganda and rhetoric from evangelists. The science is really clear now - the injury rates between barefoot/minimalism vs shod are the same and the injury rates between heel strikers vs forefoot/midfoot strikers are the same. I just blogged this AM on Different Running Techniques Load Different Tissues Differently.

    The minimalism/barefoot fad is over; that ship has sailed; the fat lady has sung. It has failed to deliver what the evangelists promised it would. Runners have lost interest in it and are voting with their feet. By some accounts I have read, the decline in interest in it and support for it started up to 4yrs ago. Those who firmly hung their hat on it as the holy grail now have egg on their face.
  8. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member


    Keep on doing what your doing, it's working for you.

    You mention that when you wore shoes you had 'lots of aches and pains and only ran one marathon a year'.

    Did the 'aches and pains' constitute an injury or are you one of those lucky people who is rarely or never injured (excluding, possibly, superficial skin trauma)?

    Did you only run one marathon a year because of the aches and pains?

    How many years did you run with shoes before you changed to barefoot?

    There seems to be a group, no matter how small, for whom barefoot running offers marked positive advantages. What biomechanical characteristics, in a runner, would be likely to favour barefoot running?

  9. I would offer that running whatever you wear, cannot prevent any injuries. One is much more likely to sustain an injury running than, say, watching game of thrones.

    Surely the question should be, are you more likely to be injured running barefoot than running shod.
  10. exactly and the discussion should be about try to identify which bracket an individual fits in

    thus reducing the chance of injury
  11. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    I think the question should be tighter and more encompassing as 'the likelihood of injury' doesn't necessarily give you much useful information.

    Something along the lines of:

    A Comparison of injury frequency, type, duration, no. of days of training lost in matched barefoot and shod runners.

    If 'injury frequency, type, duration, no. of days of training lost', could be replaced by injury profile, it would be a lot neater.

    A Comparison of Injury Profiles in matched samples of Barefoot and Shod Runners.

    In question form, I'd probably go for something along the lines of: How do injury profiles, in matched samples of barefoot and shod runners compare?

  12. bruk

    bruk Member

    I think Bill is on the right track. There are clearly differences in biomechanical forces and tissue stress in shod versus unshod running. Practitioners need to have a clear understanding of what thoses differences are, and how to apply them to each individual runner's needs that they treat.
    There are runner's who obviously benefit from running barefoot, and others who need to wear maximalist shoes. What is the difference in these populations, their injuries, and their biomechanics?

    How can we better tailor treatment strategies to benefit each individual client rather than making blanket statements like "barefoot running does/does not prevent injuries." The debate rages ad nauseum over what is "best," and it's great to learn from the resulting research, but there are too many intrinsic and extrinsic patient variables to say that running shod or unshod, with or without orthotics, in minimalist or maximalist shoes, or with heelstrike or midfoot strike is better or worse, or more or less likely cause or prevent injury.
  13. Therein lies the problem: matched samples. For matched samples we should require clones or monozygotic twins, but even this would not be good enough since:

    Propensity for runnng related injury is a function of: genotype + environment + (genotype x environment).
    Where: environment = all non-genetic factors.

    So, previous differences in the environental components which cannot be controlled for may influence the observed propensity for injury.
  14. However, we can learn from the research as to how the kinetics generally relates to the kinematics of running gait.
  15. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    It wouldn't surprise me if comments like the following from an elite runner (in fact a very elite, in the form of Ethiopian - Tirunesh Dibaba) have been cited on this forum before. However, I had to smile at Tirunesh's answer about barefoot running...

    In fact, I was directed to the Running Times site via a link whilst reading another site discussing the issues surrounding good running form & reducing injury rates...

    The Running Times interview: Catching Up With Tirunesh Dibaba...

    It should also be noted that the subheading to the above one cited is the following... "London's gold medalist talks about her training, overcoming injury and appreciating success"... hence, an injury of hers was being discussed ("shin bone" injury) also...

    Interesting answer considering the article was published in August 15, 2012 - hence Tirunesh knew nothing of the barefoot "movement" until fairly recently. A topic making such big noise within running in the west for years... was apparently making such little noise where running is at its greatest (i.e. depth & performance)... quite interesting indeed ;) .

    I don't know exactly what it is... but I seem to get this constant vibe to move to Ethiopia... or is it Kenya :rolleyes: .
  16. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    In terms of athletic hierarchy (level of performance) what level/s was/were affected by the 'barefoot movement'. Did runners from all performance levels convert to barefoot running or was it typically/exclusively club runners and possibly non- club runners? Also what was the shortest distance that attracted converts? I am guessing 5000m?

  17. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    In reality, it attracted very few runners. More people are competing in unicycle racing than took up barefoot running. I think we all fell for the extraordinary presence of 'barefoot running' online and in the running magazines and the belief that it was bigger than it actually was. Kevin always said that this was a virtual fad rather real one. Runners have voted with their feet and did not fall for the rhetoric and propaganda and the non-scientific rantings of false prophets.

    All the evidence has shown that it does not live up to the promises made by the evangelists...... however, the landscape and understanding of a lot of things has changed as a consequence.

    There was always a small 'hardcore' group of barefoot runners. Now that small group is just a little bit bigger.
  18. Similarly, propensity for running ability is a function of the interaction twixt genotype and environment. This book review appeared in the Daily Mail today:
  19. Very good articile in Men's Health Magazine this month on Barefoot running and compares four pairs of barefoot running shoes comparing percentage pressures compared to fully shod
  20. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Just thought it was worth splitting these two up, as they are totally mutually exclusive in my experience.
  21. dgroberts

    dgroberts Active Member

    This recently piqued my interest as I do a bit of running so decided to experiment myself as I have been experiencing some right hamstring pain recently (that I'm not getting to the bottom of btw!).

    I have been a long time user of asics or new balance shoes, whatever they market as neutral and as cheap as possile is what I tend to go for. I forget the current model I have but they are cushioned and have removable insoles.

    So off to ebay and I managed to pick up a cheap pair of these


    New balance minimus zero.

    Anyway they are esentially like wrapping your feet in a teatowel, all they do is stop sharps injuries and prevent dog mess from squishing up between your toes.

    I did a 13miler in them last week and they are "weird", they tend to force you to midfoot strike but it's not really any more or less uncomfortable than the usual cushioning type shoes, just feels different. Still got my hamstring pain and didn't make me go any faster though.

    There you go, science right there. ^^
  22. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    In keeping with my previous point about the relevance of barefoot running amongst the world's greatest runners i.e. East Africans (i.e. Kenya & Ethiopia... not Central America). Recap...
    ... I have come across another interview, this time with Kenyan - Boniface Kiprop Kongin (classic Kenyan name ;)). He was asked about barefoot running... [5 min. into video] interesting answer... as well as a laugh :D . Thus another perspective from another within the mecca of world class running...

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  23. Great video, Matt. I especially liked the expression on his face when he was told that many "Westerners" are taking up barefoot running....gotta send that video to Chris McDougall....sincerely, the Angry Podiatrist.:rolleyes:

Share This Page