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.

There is no barefoot running debate

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, May 10, 2011.

  1. docbourke

    docbourke Active Member

    Lets face it we need to star at the beginning and perform well designed scientific studies to determine the place of barefoot running. Fanatics should be shouted down. Case studies and anectdotal evidence should be ignored. Population and large biomechanical studies need to be performed and little by litle we may get closer to the answers. To throw the cat among the pidgeons - maybe bare foot runnig suits one particular group and shoe running anothr and no generalised rule applies. Maybe the type of running also is different between sexes, age groups, intensities and terrain ? Hopefully we can glean the truth so that we can actually get on with running rather than arguing about it.
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    You probably right. There is probably no one right way to run for every runner. Each runner will probably be best suited to one approach; which may be barefoot/minimalist or maybe Chi Running or maybe Pose Running or {insert name} running or maybe heel striking. The problem I was getting at in the opening post of this thread and in other threads is that the Evangelists from the Church or {insert name} Running believe that there way is the only way and everyone should do it. They then misuse, misquote, misrepresent and misunderstand the research and use nonsensical arguments to justify it.
  3. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    I'm grateful for 2 things:

    1) I know what works for me.
    2) It's not my responsibility to know what works for others, nor do I care.

  4. cap110680

    cap110680 Welcome New Poster

    My 2 cents...First time poster but I have been lurking for a while. I am a Cped and COA, hopefully my comments are welcomed here. I treat barefoot injuries myself. I would say 90% of the people I see have abused the concept and not let their bodies build up after 25+ years of shoe wear. Bone density is compromised (Wolfes Law) and intrinsic muscles are weakened and cannot support the skeletal structure.

    I am a runner and have had chronic P.F. I made myself a hoard of orthotics with every conceivable casting method. Put them in the best shoes and had problems for over 1 year. I tried minimalist running and 6 weeks later my P.F. is nearly gone. I started very slow and have just now worked up to 60% of my shod running distance. I feel better than I ever have. I run more efficient and cannot ever imagine running in supportive running shoes again.

    True barefoot running is not a good idea though IMO. The earth has not always been covered in concrete and glass. Some type of protection is needed. I run in $10 water shoes and feel amazing. Plenty of sensory feedback and simulates running on dirt (true barefoot running). Vibrams are a rip off IMO.

    It has changed the way I practice for sure. With a normal foot, I feel there is no need to support it. Let it splay and strengthen. My fat pad has thickened as well due to the intrinsic muscle strength. I have taken all my shoes to the band saw and taken the heel off. No need to train my achellis to shorten and further cause biomechanical flaws. Hallux limitus and PIP pinch callous....gone.
  5. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    I could not find this study at any of the clinical trial registries:
  6. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    So the only people they want in a study of injuries in barefoot running are those who do not get injuries?

    Maybe I should recruit a group of shoe runners who have not had an injury in the last 6 months and follow them for 6 months and see how many injuries they get. That way I can prove that runners who use shoes do not get injuries! ... (go back to my first post in this thread on the nonsensical use of science!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2011
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Just a follow up on this comment from my first post. The sales of motion control shoes has been increasing recently despite of all the hype and media attention to barefoot/minimalism, so no sign of Nike going out of business (see this thread). The sales of minimalist shoes were up something like 280% in the last yr, but there was no trend away from motion/stability shoes as predicted by the Evangelists from the Church.
  8. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    As further eg's of some of this. I just picked up these three quotes from twitter:
    Of course it can be a coincidence! In Africa they do not have masses of concrete; they do not sit at an office desk in from of a computer for most of the day; they don't etc etc. How do you have any idea that the low incidence of musculoskeletal low back pain in Afirca has anything to do with being barefoot? It may or may not, but if you want to be taken seriously you need to back up some claims with something rather than just spout a comment like that.
    They might start out barefoot, but why do they eventually start wearing shoes?
    I don't know about that. The trend to barefoot/minimalist is an economic stimulus package for podiatry given how many injuires are happening! (see my original post on all the reports on injuries!)
  9. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    I follow Stephen Bloor on twitter also. Just to see what absolute drivel he'll come out with next.
  10. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I really try hard to understand these sorts of nonsensical claims. I can not understand how rational people can keep a straight face when they say things like
    Why is it that they promote that agenda and not see the bigger picture:
    Don't get me wrong; I not saying it could not be due to the barefoot (it could well be due to the barefoot), I am just saying how can you expect to be taken seriously when you emphatically state its due to the barefoot, when there are so many other plausible explanations.

    Actually, when I say "I can not understand how rational people can keep a straight face when they say things like...", I am trying hard to understand. The 3 most recent books I just finished reading have been:

    Believing Bull**** by Stephen Law:
    Counterknowledge by Damian Thompson
    The Believing Brain: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Sermer
  11. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    Its a big stimulus too! I caught this in todays PM NEws:
  12. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Can someone explain this one to me?
    Link to article. No study has show that. Why do people make stuff up for?
  13. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I see now see what you mean by drivel. Here is todays classic:
    I wonder how he explains the only two studies that have looked at foot orthotics and muscles strength - one showed they actually increased strength; the other showed there was no effect.... no study has shown they weaken them.
  14. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    My assumption would be that he hasn't read any research of any kind for a long time.

    Here are some more of his 'evidence based' tweets from the last 24 hours:

    If people didn't wear shoes the vast majority wouldn't need orthotics. Orthotics help reduce the biomechanical stress caused by shoes.

    Using a dental analogy: shoes are like un-natural refined sugars causing damage, muscle strengthening exercises are like toothbrushing
  15. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Here is his latest one:
    Nope, I judge them on their
    ...and so far its a miserable FAIL.

    I really which someone could really explain to me why they keep making stuff up for?
  16. William Fowler

    William Fowler Active Member

    Those two quotes probably sums up it all really well. I too wonder why that make things up.
  17. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Does anyone care ?
  18. Because, As Mr Bloor stated: "Experience, reason and science, acting in harmony, will give all those seeking truth, the best interpretation of reality!"

    You can get more than just the one liners offered by twitter here: http://stevebloor.wordpress.com/

    Personally, I prefer my one-line, on-line philosophy to be delivered by an elderly Jewish Dr and clinical researcher:
    tried to link it but it doesn't seem to like it so google: sh!t my dad says
    Now there is experience, reason and science, acting in harmony. Genius.
  19. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    Have to agree.

    What runners often ignore is whether the equipment interferes with or prevents the proper functioning of the foot during running, such as wearing a running shoe which has a built-up firm arch.

    This obviously creates a weaker foot & problems down the line.
  20. Griff

    Griff Moderator

  21. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member


    I like having Sicknote's contributions... They make me feel smart
  22. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    There are a whole bunch of reasons.

    One being that as the transverse arch begins to flatten it widens the ball of the foot by about 15%. Rarely when fitted for a shoe do runners actually account for the extent to which the foot widens. Which is why a "snug fit" can easily result in a stress fracture of a metatarsal bone.

    Also, since fashion dictates shoe design instead of foot biomechanics, shoes are designed with tapered toeboxes, narrower than the ball of the foot even though the toes are the widest part of the foot.

    Catch 22.
  23. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Sorry Sickboy,

    You won't get a bite from me.
  24. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Because gullible people fall for it and believe it. That is dangerous.
    So if a non-runner stats running tomorrow in the most motion controlling shoes, they will be using their muscles more than when they were not running. That is going to make their muscles stronger, not weaker. ..... how do you explain that?
  25. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    I was initially comparing barefoot running to wearing running shoes with a built-up firm arch.

    I wholeheartedly believe instead of relying on external shoe supports, one should walk/run barefoot which will not only promote optimal functioning of the feet but it will also strengthen the foot support structures far more significantly.
  26. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    How do you know that the use of 'external shoe supports' weakens the muscles? My muscles are working really hard in my running shoes and get stronger when I run. Foot orthotics have been shown to either increase or not change muscle strength. What evidence do you have to show that running shoes actually weaken muscles?

    I missed this one:
    You do realize that ALL the research has shown that that transverse arch does not exist. Every single piece of research that has looked at this has shown its a myth,

    BTW, a weakness of the intrinsic muscles in the foot actually lead to a higher arch foot.
  27. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    It's common sense that wearing running shoes with built-up firm arch's will weaken the feet, as these supports will prevent the proper functioning of the feet, which prevents the feet from doing what there meant to do naturally when running. They will not allow the foot's arch to compress & return to it's original shape during landing & take-off.

    What happens is your muscles/tendons & ligaments become weaker which not only loses there ability to handle landing forces but your also limiting your potential for push-off forces.

    Wearing shoes is like deadlifting in a straight jacket... (there's one to hang on your surgery walls).

    Personally speaking, my arches have raised with the increase in intrinsic muscle strength. Think of it as a spring.

    In no way do feet get flatter as foot strength goes up, no way.

    If it was the case that a weakness of the intrinsic muscles in the foot actually lead to a higher arch foot I would suggest increasing your flexibility.
  28. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    No its not. Why do the EMG studies show the muscles still working very hard in supportive shoes?
    You have not explained the studies I mentioned above that foot orthotics strengthen the muscles. If that is the case, why would we expect shoes to weaken them? You have not explained my eg of a new runner starting running --> their muscles will get stronger. You going to have to do better than that.
    I do not believe you. How do you explain the research evidence that arch height is not related to muscle strength? I can think of other reasons unrelated to muscle strength why arch morphology might change.
    How then do you explain what happens in the 'intrinsic minus foot' in those with diabetes and the early CMT feet where the intrinsic muscles atrophy --> they all develop a high arched foot.

    Like the crap you espoused on cancer (that got deleted), you really need to do better to convince us and be familiar with the EVIDENCE and stop being so gullible.
  29. Craig:

    Why are you bothering to argue with Sicknote?! She is an idiot!!
  30. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Because they fit in with the types of people that these books that I just read are discussing:
    If only they could see themselves in these books.
    The cancer thread that they started was a classic!
  31. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    that is excellent Craig! Are these books reasily available?
    there is another very interesting thing called the Gartner Hype cycle
    right now a lot of what is swirling around us is at the level of the peak of inflated expectations.. and because we are seing the consequences ofd this.. eg injury, we are about to enter the slippery slide down tothe trough of disillusionment (or as I prefer to call it "the trough of turpitude").
    this cycle is interesting though, because the smart operators may be able to spot some of the truths within the bulls#%, eg weight reduction, simpler concepts coming out of minimalist movement, and do something that points to the slope of enlightenment, and may even lead long term to a plateaux of productivity

    Attached Files:

  32. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    I think it's time Sicknote reveal his true name and bona fides. I have this niggling feeling that he has posted before under his real name. I could be wrong but the transverse metatarsal arch myth and suggestions that shoes and foot orthoses weaken the foot intrinsic musculature were the epiphanies for me that he may be a fellow DC. This type of faulty dogma is prevalent in non podiatric fields.

    It is also glaringly obvious that he has an agenda. Step up to the plate Sicknote and quit jerking us around, this is a professional forum not high school...
  33. If Sicknote does reveal her bona fides, I promise I won't watch....:rolleyes::cool:
  34. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

  35. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Craig, in response to my question, "Does anyone care?" You wrote.

    What I have seen with running time and time again is that the people who have had minimal contact with running such as someone new to running or returning to running from a long layoff or has had a lot of injury issues will most likely start or return to running with a totally wrong approach. The general theme is that they are over excited, over ambitious and end up injured in short order. Not only do they not give their body a chance to grow and strengthen to handle the demands of running, often they will do it without someones help to guide them regarding good form.

    I would say that what is dangerous is the unacquainted doing too much too soon possibly compounded by bad form which will contribute more to injury than the type of shoes a person is wearing or not wearing. In some ways, I have to wonder if by the nature of starting out running barefoot that the simple side effect of running on tender soles will help prevent the person starting up a running program from doing too much too soon.

    For the long term, experienced runner, I don't think they are really that gullible. They have had a long enough time to figure out what works for them and certainly have been around long enough to know that there is no magic pill that is going to make them a better runner over night.

    For the person who is chronically injured, you need to question how experienced with running they really are. How could they be, their injuries prevent them from gaining that experience. You have to question, are their injuries related to bad form, inherited weakness or pathology or simply over use.

    I would argue that if I runner uses good form, has no inherited/genetic pathology and does NOT over do it, that they will remain healthy. Given those three, how much of a role does they type of shoe a person wears on not wears really play in this?

    What I find interesting is how threads on this forum on this subject go on and on with no end in sight. The same thing keeps getting repeated to the same people who bother to read it. I have been on a forum for Ultra Marathoners for the past 16 years. When the barefoot or minimal shoe discussion comes up which is very infrequent at this point, a few people make their comment and we move on. The attitude on that forum is if you want to run barefoot, go for it. If you want to wear minimal shoes, go for it. If you want to wear super duper motion control shoes, go for it. What is most important is that you find that works best for you and will allow you to run many, many miles. I think when the threads on the subject pop up, they are very short lived because NOBODY debates taking one direction over the other. People share their opinions, experience and possibly supporting studies, we take what we think might be useful and possibly see if it helps.

    I find the contention on this forum somewhat disheartening and unfortunate. I'm sure it discourages some from sharing ideas at the risk of being shot down. From that perspective, we all lose.

  36. Threshold model. Viz. it depends on whether the footwear pushes the sum of the predictors beyond the injury threshold. Any one of the predictors can do this, footwear being one, training intensity being another. Said before, seems I'll have to keep saying it:

    P = G + E + (G x E)

    P = a running related injury
    G = genotype
    E= all non-genetic factors

    What you need to do is partition the variance and identify the factors contributing to a given injury.

    So: E= age, training mileage, experience, previous injury, running surface, IQ, shoes etc etc.

    Stick it all in a multi-variate model and see which are the important predictors and which are not. I look forward to reading that research.

    Out of interest, I've never had a running related injury, even after nearly 4 decades of running. Getting tired now though.

    P.S. I seem to remember a paper which looked at athletic ability in this way, it might be in the attic... I'll see if I can find it.
  37. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, you can keep showing the formula if you think it helps.

    Craig is concerned about gullible people swallowing misrepresented data. I'm just pointing out that the gullible people don't need the barefoot advocates help, they have been very successful at injuring themselves all on their own.

    Better go look for that paper in your attic, meanwhile I'll learn from experience.

  38. Great come-back, Dana.:drinks
    You don't have to read it, Dana. You can leave and join you're agreeable friends at the ultra-marathon forum whenever you wish. In fact, why don't you go for a very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very long run. If you are not prepared to have your contention shot down, don't engage in academic debate. Personally, I should hate to see the quality of this forum diluted just to appease those who cannot cut the mustard in terms of academic debate, particularly when those said individuals are not even members of the professions that this very forum was set-up for the benefit of. Podiatry and podiatrists have benefitted from the ability to continually question the beliefs and tenets which make up our practice. To stop questioning and to accept the status quo or the unsupported opinion of any old mediocre runner should be catastrophic to our profession (not your profession- obviously). Is making coffeeeeeeeeee for the workers at IBM classified as a profession?

    On the ultra-long joggers forum they might accept mediocrity without question, it doesn't mean we should accept it here. That's why stupid threads about cancer treatment get deleted; that's why when people make statements which are, frankly, completely unsupported by scientific evidence they get shot down. The cream rises to the top. The bull**** falls to the bottom and on to other forums.

    Four decades of running and not one running related injury. I wear supportive shoes, smoke cigars and drink plenty of alcohol, so my experience tells me these can't be risk factors for running related injuries- right? In fact, they might actually protect me from injury. What do you actually bring to the table, Dana? Other than your n=1 experience of running, which every man and his dog has got a piece of, you bring....?

    My daughter is 6 years old, she's been running for about 5 years, never had a running related injury in her life. Maybe I should value her opinion on running biomechanics and sports injury of the lower limb? Or, maybe I should read her a story about fairies and put her to bed? Maybe I should direct her to the ultra-marathon forum, where her views will be accepted without question since there:
    Great, a forum where nothing is debated and everyones views are accepted as read: "Dana, you're a really great runner, your knowledge of podiatric medicine is outstanding". Look at it, say what it is.....
  39. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, I'm going to take the high road on this. Have a good day.


Share This Page