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There is no barefoot running debate

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

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    No idea! I can't see why it would be important or not. They present a lot of science for everything else they say, except that....:confused:

    There is this blog post from the author on this:
    I still do not see that why this would be an issue or not if taking up barefoot running or not. :confused:

    The whole issue of barefoot running and muscle strength has not been resolved:
    Do running shoes weaken muscles?
    Minimalist Running Does NOT Increase Arch Strength
    Muscle Strength and Arch Height

    The last two bits of research who tend NOT to support what they are claiming re FHB.
  2. pod29

    pod29 Active Member

    Craig et al

    I think the reference to FHB should actually be a reference to abductor hallucis. The exercises they are describing would be more likely to activate abductor hallucis. They suggest that it is easy to separate the FHB from FHL due to different insertion points, however the tendon for FHL runs straight through the middle of the FHB muscle belly. I would imagine that there would be a significant amount of fascial connections between these muscles, actually making them very difficult to separate.

    As for the research into barefoot running and intrinsic muscle strength, the tests that were used for assessing the strength of these muscles are IMHO, not valid. They measure changes in arch height from sit to bipedal stance, which will only evaluate the stiffness of the passive structures (plantar fascia, spring ligament etc) as well as the passive stiffness of the intrinsic foot muscles, as these muscles will have very little activity in bipedal stance. To adequately assess whether these muscles have been strengthened from barefoot running, you would need to develop a test that is able to measure the force development and/or elastic properties in these muscles, before and after a period of barefoot running, comparing that to shod running and also doing nothing at all.
  3. Griff

    Griff Moderator

  4. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I don't think this is apocryphal , but the origin of the Australian expression "A Furphy" has its origins in the Great War, and the impending transport of Australian troops to Gallipoli.

    The Prime Minister of the time ?John Curtin?, was very apprehensive about losing troop ships to enemy action, and was waiting for naval cover. This causes significant delay for departure, and much angst was had among those awaiting to depart. As always, the scuttle takes place around the toilets. And therein lies the answer. The most important manufacturer of plumbing, boilers etc at the time was John Furphy and Sons. Thus, an rumour which subsequently proved to be unfounded became known as a "Furphy". I am fairly sure that I read that in Bryce Courtenay's book the Australian Trilogy. Rob
  5. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    It's quite remarkable reading your posts. You speak of barefoot nutcases and bash people for not presenting any evidence when they claim barefoot running is good.

    Yet here you are, being highly emotional and having an us vs. them attitude. Really, all you say is "I've read everything, therefore I know". It would be rather helpful if you'd let go of this attitude.

    I have no particular stake in this debate, but I find the close mindedness of many podiatrists highly annoying. On the other side there's the nearly evangelical belief of barefoot runners. I can understand why this provokes such an attitude from you. However you are a professional and a scientist. They are not. I expect more from you and so far you have given very little.
  6. and then you come in with your broad brush and cycle continues - I don´t think anyone has said that barefoot running is bad.

    I´ve now got to a point where I don´t give a sh!t about if anyone takes their shoes off or not.

    All that is happening is stresses are getting moved from one place to another which will be good for some bad for others.
  7. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    Except of course they have. But that's not even the point. My issue is that I like to read professional advice about what to wear. Rather than a debate though I see so called professionals mocking people from their ivory towers, failing to provide any evidence whatsoever. I'm hesitant about barefoot running. But it deserves research and instead of actually trying to provide that research, time is wasted with quarrel. I don't want people to say they're a professional, I want them to act like one.
  8. No - Some have said they would not recommend barefoot running due to stick injuries to their patients - but no one has barefoot running is bad, most would say idf asked good for some bad for others.

    While Simon Bartold, Kevin Kirby ( the 2 people involved in your quote) etc have debated one side - ie the running shoe side, I have never seen them write that barefoot running is bad for all, they may not recommend it - Kevin has used stick injuries as a reason why he would not recommend it.

    What people have said is that research is getting misused, this is why the arguments and people just plainly making stuff up, and if you are so worried about the research why don´t you do it- Research should be an area of interest, and why as a non Podiatrist would you use discussions on a web forum to decide how professional podiatry is ?

    Your brush strokes are getting broader.
  9. blinda

    blinda MVP

    Podiatry Arena is not an advice column for non-professionals and their foot and/or footwear problems. You obviously missed this when you signed up for this forum;

    and this too;
    Indeed. The influx of non podiatrists posting (often provocatively as in this case) on the forum of late is becoming more than a little irksome.

    Never mind, Mike. `Tis nearly the weekend :drinks
  10. Alex:

    First of all, it doesn't appear that you know me or have read many of my replies on this subject. So let's find out a little about you. What is your name and what is your background? Have you read any of the articles I have been interviewed on, or the barefoot running book I was included in or the papers I have written on this subject? Or have you just read a few of my comments here on Podiatry Arena and decided that I was "close minded" and that I have "so far" "given very little"?

    I don't enjoy being preached to["It would rather be helpful if you let go of this attitude" and "being highly emotional"] by someone who doesn't know me or is a newbie to this academic forum for podiatrists. Did you know that Chris McDougall has called me the "Angry Podiatrist"? Maybe you are on Chris McDougall's side and want to call me another name?

    Let's start a polite introduction.....who are you?
  11. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    Here's the problem I have with a lot of professionals on this website. Again, you misquote me. I am not interested in deciding how professional podiatry is. I have already decided that it is. I do not pretend to know more about the foot than a professional does. I also do not claim that barefoot running is good or bad.

    I don't understand why you feel the need to automatically protect your profession when I never attacked it in the first place. In fact, I even stated that this should be researched by professionals AND that I am interested in professionals debating about the subject.

    No this us against them sentiment that many on this website seem to share make you look like some sort of private sect. Exactly what you accuse many barefoot enthusiasts of. It is rather troublesome if this is way scientific debate goes these days.
  12. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    I am not on Chris McDougall's side. But I can understand why he calls you the Angry Podiatrist. I am not on his side however because there simply are no sides. This is something you do not appear to grasp. Rather than presenting evidence in a scientific matter you resort to devilizing your opponent. It's childish.

    I have read many of your comments on this forum. Which is why I'm disappointed. I read posts which made sense and I was hoping for a reasonable voice against barefoot running.

    As for me, I am not a professional by any means and will never claim to be. And that is exactly the reason I came to this site: hoping to find voices of reason. Yet all I get is angry podiatrists calling people names. Quite sad. As a lawyer however, I do know where the burden of proof lies in this case and I can tell you don't.
  13. Alex:

    We're done. Happy running.:drinks
  14. stickleyc

    stickleyc Active Member

    I can't help but ask: In your professional opinion as a lawyer, where DOES the burden of proof lie in this case? It seems from your post you are implying that the burden of proof lies with those who claim that barefoot running is NOT the answer to all the ills and injuries of the running world."

    In actuality, this is only a response to those who claim that barefoot running is A) the best solution for every person regardless of their individual anatomic/biomechanic/physiologic make-up and injury history and B) it will prevent all future injury and cure all previous injury.

    Why would not the burden of proof lie with those who make a claim that has never before been posited as true? This is the argument that would be made by any number of the people on here who you have relegated to the "close-minded" category.
  15. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    A bit early but I'd like to nominate this for quote of the year for 2012.

    If you want to go against the advice of trained professionals, ignore that there is just about zero evidence that barefoot and forefoot striking are inherently better than shod and heel striking, risk injury and join the Occupy Shoes movement; have at it. If you want to ignore the very intelligent minds who study the subject of lower extremity biomechanics and treat the result clinically by taking the advice of those with no training and no professional acumen in lower extremity biomechanics, as well as those with a financial interest in this trend; have at it.

    While you're at it discard your car seat belt, motorcycle helmet, safety glasses and all other protective devices designed for safety and to promote a better quality of life; have at it.

    I'm with Mike, I'm seriously over this. I'm also seriously over anonymous posters with an agenda and those who do not have a professional responsibility to patients coming here and disparaging those of us who do.
  16. stickleyc

    stickleyc Active Member

    This should also be nominated:

  17. I never did. I'm pretty bored of the barefoot running threads. Kevin say it a virtual movement. This site is more than a little complicit in its promotion. I remember saying that such threads would pull in the running zealots and low and behold....

    And they're all pretty much running zealots....

  18. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    The burden of proof, as a general rule, lies with those who claim certain facts to be true. One could easily be mistaken and read this, as you do, as a rule that would make the burden of proof lie with those who claim something new. That is however not the case. The original claim in this debate is that running shoes are good for you. This claim has not yet been proven. Only after that we can investigate the counter claim: namely that barefoot running is better.

    However that slightly changes when you start marketing barefoot shoes. The claim is these shoes provide a natural way of running. They wouldn't have to prove that these barefoot shoes are better than regular shoes and perhaps not even that runners are less susceptible to injury, however they would have to prove that they do not change the natural gait. A claim that is hard to prove as it is.
  19. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I only mock those who deserve it. Can you explain why so many barefoot runners lie about research for? Should we not hold them accountable for that?
  20. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    We should. And I, for one, am grateful that podiatrists do. In Western medical literature the mechanism of peer review is very important and it is good to see that it is being taken seriously. Twisting facts is very dangerous and somehow scientists from both sides are susceptible to it, therefore peer review is a good thing.

    However what you now get is this:

    A: I heard barefoot running is good.
    B: Barefoot running is bad.
    A: Yeah? Where's the evidence?
    B: Barefoot running is bad, I'm a professional.

    The aura of being a professional means squat. You still have to prove that you're right. And that's where there is no debate possible with a lot of people on this site. Unfortunately.
  21. "Podiatry Arena is a forum for discussion by podiatrists and other foot health professionals about all aspects of podiatry." Why should I debate anything with a lawyer here? Or someone who makes the coffee at IBM? Or anyone who isn't a foot health professional? That is what you are missing, Alex. Some podiatrists here are well and truly fed up with people such as yourself writing on here. Nothing personal. End of story. Goodbye.
  22. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    I must have missed where someone here said barefoot running is bad... Can you show me?

    What I have seen is health professionals who have a responsibility to more than just themselves pointing out that barefoot running is not a panacea for all running injuries- there is no scientific evidence that it is.
    So... What is more responsible- suggesting that barefoot running is the solution to all running ills... And if you get injured trying it that the only reason is that you did too much too soon,
    barefoot running is something that MAY be useful as a component of training, but must be carefully considered as it may not be for EVERYONE...
  23. stickleyc

    stickleyc Active Member

    I encourage you to read the 1000+ post thread originally on the barefoot debate. If you read that discussion without preconceived notions you will see your imaginary ABAB conversation above is not accurate. By the time this thread started, I think alot of people were sick of the having to make the same arguments over and over to the zealots.
  24. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    What debate?
    Your whole premise is wrong:
    "B: Barefoot running is bad." ... where is anyone saying that? That was the whole point of my first post in starting the thread!! (I just back from a run in my NB Minimus's; tomorrow's run will be the my maximalist Hoka One One's!).

    I only debating the rhetoric and propaganda; no one is claiming that people should not be running barefoot. Just look at the nonsense that is being espoused on some barefoot blogs about the recent study: Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners. How can you debate with people like that? That just opening themselves to ridicule and making fools of themselves.

    It suits the church of barefoot running to have have an enemy (ie shoes and podiatry). As I discussed in another thread, I recently asked at a seminar of 150 podiatrists who was opposed to barefoot running ... there was none, so you have to question why the Church make that claim. Where are they getting there information from? I can only conclude that they are making it up as it suits them.

    I read this yesterday on Steve Magness blog. He was talking about the crossfit debate - nothing to do with this topic, but the observation is astute:
    ...and the pattern repeats itself.
  25. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    Well, I can agree with what you write here. Barefoot runners do have the tendency to make it an us versus them debate. One has to wonder though why they would do that. Pretty much the only logical explanation would be that either: a) they really aren't getting injured anymore the way they used to or b) they're just having a lot of fun barefoot running.

    Personally I think it's about b). Barefoot running is fun. In the summer I do it all the time to strengthen my ankles (I play soccer). I don't run 50 miles barefoot though and I don't intend to either.

    The barefoot church as you call it is part of something bigger though. It seems as if we're confronted with a "back to our roots" movement. You see paleo/primal diets, people lifting heavy weights, running barefoot.. all in an attempt to be what we once were. It's a form of revolt against the obese, sedentary society we have become. That is why it has become a question of sentiment. I'd argue that in the eyes of barefoot runners, podiatrists would probably represent part of that lazy, weak and obese society numbed by television and fast food.

    What surprises me is not the attitude of these barefoot runners, who after all have not had an education about foot mechanics, but rather the attitude of podiatrists who instead of providing evidence resort to mocking and ridicule. Is it understandable after being so violently attacked? Definitely. Yet one does wonder why there's no evidence.
  26. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Thats my only issue. How often do you read the claims about all the scientific evidence that is supposed to support barefoot running? In the earlier big barefoot running thread (>1000 posts), many barefoot runners posted that kind of statement, yet when challenged they never came back to produce the evidence or if they did come back, none of the evidence the produced actually supported what they were saying. (look at the discussion in the thread on Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective study and the claims about the "evidence" being made)
    I have no problem with (b).

    As for (a), there is no doubt a lot of runners with an injury history are now running injury free barefoot/minimalist. There is also no doubt that there are a lot of runners who are getting an injury barefoot:
    - just ask anyone who treats a lot of running injuries about how many barefoot/minimalist runners they treat - its way higher as a proportion than the number that are running barefoot/minimalist
    - just check all the barefoot forums at all the runners who are asking advice on for there running injury (yet those same websites claim barefoot running is a way to get rid of the injuries!

    Some of that "medical" advice given to them on those forums is appalling! I am now aware of two posterior tibial tendon dysfunctions who have gone on to need osseous reconstruction in the rearfoot and they will never run again because of the advice given on barefoot forums - they were advised strongly to run thru it etc etc (my advice for a post tib dysfunction in runners is to give up running for 6 months - its that serious!). I caught a comment recently from a colleague who talked about several met stress fractures in barefoot runners that went on to complete breaks that needed surgical plating! - never seen that in a shod runner. (see The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic)

    Barefoot/minimalist running is NOT a panacea for overuse injuries. I use the term "Church" to indicate that those "Evangelists" are trying to convert people to the "religion" as it is a panacea! Why do they find it necessary to ram it down peoples throats?

    For the sake of boring people, I will repeat this:
    Rearfoot striking --> greater rearfoot impact
    Forefoot striking --> greater rearfoot inversion moments; greater forefoot dorsiflexion moments; greater ankle dorsiflexion moments; maybe less knee adduction moments

    All all depends on what your injury history is or what tissues need to off-load as to which one you should be doing. If there is an injury history related to any of the joint moments that are greater in forefoot striking, then get back on the rearfoot (eg post tib dysfunction is due to increased rearfoot inversion moments....might explain what I mentioned above!) etc etc.
  27. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    I agree that I don't see any evidence in favour of barefoot running. I see a lot of people saying that it worked for them - as an individual. There simply aren't good studies about it. What I find strange and slightly amusing however is that it's the barefoot runners who should provide the evidence according to many podiatrists. That does not make sense at all.

    Like it or not, we were born without shoes. Therefore the default position is barefoot. It is what it is. Let's accept that. Then you have companies making shoes to protect your feet. I think we can also all agree that they do protect your feet from sharp object. No problem there. However now we have companies saying they make running shoes which protect your knees, ankles, hips etcetera.. We also have podiatrists making orthotics, without ever having made sure these things actually work. I say the burden of evidence is on these companies and on the people making these orthotics.

    Thing is: this changes when you have a company that makes "barefoot running" shoes. They also claim this shoe prevents injuries. Therefore they also have to come up with evidence.

    I can agree with that, but hell, people only want a quick answer ;).
  28. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Revisiting this:
    Have a look at posts#24 & 25 in this thread: Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective study. How can anyone with any resemblance of a brain came remotely close to defending what VIVOBAREFOOT are saying?

    This just confirms what I said in the first post of this thread:
    Rather than getting better, its getting worse. Worse still is that the gullible are still falling for what they are saying.
  29. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    I have got to admit that IS a spectacularly poor interpretation of that study. Makes no sense whatsoever. And besides, there are quite a few problems with that study anyway. Thing is though.. Vivo Barefoot are a shoe company. They say they make a shoe that will let you run injury free. In this case Vivo Barefoot will have to prove that claim. In reality there's no difference whatsoever between Nike or Vivo Barefoot, because they both claime to make shoes that reduce injuries.

    All I am saying on the other hand is that it's weird that a lot of podiatrists on this forum place the burden of evidence on the barefoot runners. This isn't logical. If you design an orthotic and you give it to someone so he doesn't get injured, you should be able to back this up with evidence. Yet you're not. That is extremely odd, don't you think?
  30. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Are Nike claiming that?
    Nope. There are now over 50 patient satisfaction, clinical outcome studies, retrospective, prospective, randomized controlled trials on foot orthotics. Every single one of them has shown foot orthotics work. Not one of them has shown they don't. Most of them were not even done by Podiatrists! Where are you getting your information from that: "you should be able to back this up with evidence. Yet you're not". The evidence is unequivocal!
  31. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    As a follow up, I was intrigued what Nike were actually claiming, so I searched their website and found no claims from Nike that they make shoes to reduce injury. I could not find the claim on the Asics or Adidas website either (there may be, but I could not find it; or they made the claims elsewhere). I was surprised.

    ADDED: I just went through the adverts in the Feb 2012 Runners World (Australian edition) and there were surprisingly NO claims made by the running shoes adverts about injury except one. ...... and that was from a minimalist shoe company!! ... don't figure!
  32. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    IF they could conclusively prove they could reduce injury they would be all over it in marketing. But would probably also leave themselves open to legal action (toning shoes????).

    Make no mistake though- they are trying and testing designs with the aim of decreasing injuries... not all the money goes to marketing.
  33. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    So are all the minimalist running shoes opening themselves up to litigation based on the claims that they are making?

    (Here is the thread on toning shoes litigation: Reebok faces lawsuit over toning shoe from unsatisfied customer)
  34. Yep if the claims can be proven to be wrong.

    Same as everything.
  35. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    That's not exactly unequivocal evidence. It shows that it works for some patients to some degree. I think we both agree on the fact that barefoot running also works for some patients to some degree. I have used orthotics in the past and they did reduce my injuries. However I now also incorporate barefoot running without orthotics and my injuries are gone. Both seemed to have a positive effect on me.
  36. AlexDP

    AlexDP Member

    1. The fact Nike don't explicitly claim it tells you something - they are very hesitant to say it works.
    2. Nike do claim it, only they do it implicitly.
    3. So? Same rules apply to the minimalist shoe company.
  37. Horseman42

    Horseman42 Banned

    I agree. Glad to see I'm not the only stating that the default is barefoot.
  38. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    Yes. Very good. You are both equally ridiculous.
  39. Horseman42

    Horseman42 Banned

    More adhominem attacks, I see. How is this professional??
  40. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    There are some reasonable arguments for the benefits of barefoot running (for some).
    The fact that we are born barefoot is not one of them.
    You have found someone else who agrees with you- yes another person who, like you, does not manage foot and gait problems for a living.
    You are a nurse- correct? Do you prescribe anti-biotics?

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