Some of you might be asking this very question. Truth is—it’s hard for any expert to give a straight answer. There just simply isn’t enough evidence to sway the needle towards any direction. First of all, if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort while running please visit Dr. Yanes or Dr. Steinberg at Fredrick Foot and Ankle Specialists at one of our locations in either Frederick or Urbana, MD.
Dr. Warden, who recently spoke at a symposium of the American College of Sports and Medicine, said that barefoot running could increase and decrease skeletal injury-risk. Books such as, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, has increased national interest. Celebrities such as, Matthew McConaughey and Jake Gyllenhaal, have joined the trend and have gone on recorded and have stated that they run barefoot with the Minimalist shoes. However, with this increase in interest there is a false belief that barefoot runners never get injured.
How is that possible? Humans evolved to be able to run barefoot. Remember, the shoe was created after the (bare) foot. Right? Well, most Americans grow up with shoes on their feet nearly their entire life. Shoes alter your stride. A recent study, published in The Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, has shown that if you put young children in shoes they have longer strides and have more force landing on the heels (rather than the ball of your foot). Shoes allow us to place more force on our heels and the shoes, themselves, displaces the force. As you can imagine, if you simply start to run without shoes you could easily injury yourself, especially your heels.
On the contrary, Dr. Lieberman researched the effects of Kenyan children who grew up barefoot running. The results are astonishing showing that the force of impact is much less on the body, helping decrease wear and tear. However, this might only be true if you have not worn shoes your whole life. Our mind and body clings to what we habitually know. If we have worn shoes all our life then you will not attain proper barefoot running form, thus you could injury yourself.
If you aren’t getting any running-related injuries, why change? If you have runner’s injuries come see our doctors for appropriate treatments. If you are interested in barefoot come visit so we can create and monitor a running program to ease you into barefoot running.
By Yenisey Yanes