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Barefoot Running Injuries

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Kevin Kirby, Jan 31, 2012.

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    People like Chris McDougall and Dan Lieberman speculate that "barefoot running is best" and, a substantial number of runners now believe the promotions from McDougall and Lieberman that everyone should now be running barefoot or in "barefoot shoes" so we can "be more like our ancestors".

    In order to try and bring a little more reality to this discussion, I thought it would be valuable to start a thread so we can begin to classify and catalog the many new injuries we are all seeing as a result of this barefoot running-minimalist running fad, that would never had occurred if the runners had simply been running in the proper running shoe.

    I invite those of you who have seen these injuries to also describe how barefoot running-minimalist running shoe injuries do occur and may not be the best form of running for many individuals.

    I'll start it off with an e-mail I got yesterday from a lady who had read something I had written on dorsal midfoot interosseous compression syndrome (DMICS) and barefoot running here on Podiatry Arena.

  2. Here is a second case report, this time from Jenny L. Sanders, DPM, who is a sports podiatrist in San Francisco, California (and a former student of mine...I'm very proud of Dr. Sanders!)

    Dr. Sanders currently writes an excellent blog on shoes called Dr. Jenny Sanders Shoe Blog that you all should investigate. Dr. Sanders has kindly allowed me to present this x-ray and her comments on the many new metatarsal stress fractures she is now seeing in barefoot runners.

  3. I'm reminded of the joke: "How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?

    101- One to change the light bulb and the other 100 to share the experience, man."

    I don't see barefoot running related injuries here in Plymouth UK because I've never once seen anyone running barefoot here. Wait a minute, I see lots of kids and their parents running barefoot on the beaches of Cornwall every summer, so scratch that. Better: I don't see idiots pounding the streets relentlessly for mile upon mile whilst barefoot here in Plymouth since even in the most deprived areas, most people can afford shoes and choose to wear them.

    I have had about one or maybe two patients wearing "minimalist shoes- one had made his own shoes and had achilles tendonopathy because he'd been told to forefoot strike to help with his chronic achilles problems- obviously increasing the external dorsiflexion moment acting on the foot, thus requiring an increase in internal plantarflexion moment via the achilles tendon- obviously this had elevated the level of stress in his achilles beyond the zone of optimal stress (ZOOS). He had found his wife's prefab orthoses helpful in relieving symptoms so I got him to buy a pair of his own and go back to his natural heel strike gait.

    The other was a round-the-world yachtsman who was wearing the shoes to sail in, as was their intended purpose.

    Like I said, I don't generally meet anyone on a day to day basis who has a) heard of barefoot running b) is remotely interested in it. Which begs the question: exactly who is it that is perpetuating this "virtual fad"? Out of interest, podatry arena's "barefoot running debate" comes in second after wikipedia on Google- I think that tells us everything we need to know. Right?

    I do know this: this thread will draw in non-podiatrists and non-foot health professionals to podiatry arena and many people will get annoyed. Again. Exactly who is it that is gaining anything from these threads that seem to me to go over the same old ground until the thread gets closed because non-foot health professionals start getting up peoples noses?

    I don't get it. The great thing about banging your head against a wall is when you stop banging your head against the wall. I just don't know why Podiatry Arena wants to keep banging it's head against the same old wall?
  4. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

  5. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  6. Dominic Smith

    Dominic Smith Welcome New Poster

    Run barefoot... Notice that you will naturally land on the ball of your forefoot to protect your heel. Run this ways in barefoot shoes and you should have no problems with these shoes. People that end up injuring their feet in barefoot shoes are related to stricking their heel rather than their forefoot. Transition to these shoes slowly because you will be using muscles in your feet and calves that are not worked as much as in regular shoes because of landing on your heel. You will notice a significant strength in your feet and calves. Your calves will probably be much more sore than you are used to after running, but this will diminish after several days of running as your muscles get used to the workout, as any muscles do when they are worked hard for the fist time in a long time.

    Dominic Smith
    {spam link drop removed}
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    So care to explain why we are seeing so many injuries in those that are barefoot/minimalist running striking on the forefoot?
    The injury rate in barefoot/minimalist runners is probably about 10 time greater than heel strikers - care to explain why? Why are we seeing so many injuries in barefoot/minimalist runners?

    Barefoot/minimalist running is an economic stimulus package for those who treat running injuries. Just ask anyone who works in a running injury clinic.

    Also, apart from tibial stress fractures (which make up <0.5% of running injuries) care to explain to us what actual injuries are caused by heel striking?
  8. Like I said:

    Move along, move along...

    "Just what is going on?
    What is moving on?"- Simple Minds "In trance as mission"

    Seriously, I think enough of the people who contribute regularly have had enough of this topic now. Don't you think?

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