While running barefoot may just seem to be the newest fad in recent years, its emergence spawned decades ago. African barefoot runners Abebe Bikila and Zola Budd both set world records back in the 1960’s and 80’s respectively. Researchers have noted there is less impact on the foot when running barefoot compared to running in shoes--that means less potential for injuries. However, it is important to consult a podiatrist before running barefoot. Furthermore, it is best to ease into running barefoot, as this will help accustom your feet to the ground and prevent any potential injuries.
Barefoot running has its own share of benefits and disadvantages. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Westside Podiatry Center, LLP. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.
The Impact of Barefoot Running
- Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
- Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.
The Advantages of Barefoot Running
- When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced; this can reduce stress injuries.
- It strengthens muscles in the feet, ankles and lower legs.
- Balance of the body is improved, and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.
The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running
- No protection while running, makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
- Blisters may form.
- Possibility of plantar fascia problems.
- Risk of getting Achilles tendonitis.
So, what can runners do to make barefoot running safe? It’s best to make a slow transition from running shoes to barefoot running. Once the feet begin to adjust, try walking, then jogging and gradually increasing the distance. Minimalist running shoes may also be an option.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of one of our offices located in Liverpool, Camillus, Skaneateles, and Oswego, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about Barefoot Running