Understanding Injuries And Injury Rates Between Barefoot And Shod Runners

Understanding Injuries And Injury Rates Between Barefoot And Shod Runners

Understanding Injuries And Injury Rates Between Barefoot And Shod RunnersRecent studies show that there are fewer musculoskeletal injuries noted with barefoot runners, yet similar rates of injury for both barefoot runners and shod runners. If you fall into either category, you can always get the care you need when visiting the Mill Creek Foot & Ankle Clinic staff.

One survey looked at 107 barefoot runners along with 94 shod runners, all adults. The study noted that there were fewer injuries listed overall with the barefoot runners. However, the injury rates were not all that different from a statistical standpoint between each group. The student went on to show that barefoot runners usually go through a more significant number of injuries on the plantar region of the food. At the same time, the barefoot runners also reported far fewer cases of plantar fasciitis than any of the shod runners. Researchers also noted that the barefoot runners also sustained more calf injuries, yet fewer hip and knee injuries than the shod runners.

With the study, the average weekly mileage for the group of shod runners was about 25.3 miles weekly, whereas the barefoot runners were doing about 14.9 miles weekly. Running fewer miles would, of course, lead to a much lesser chance of any injury, and it should also be pointed out that the group of barefoot runners was taking on an average of about 25% of the miles while wearing minimalist shoes.

The numbers are not enough to bring about a solid conclusion on the actual incidence of the plantar fasciitis condition. To get a good number comparison on the injury rates, the groups that are in the study would have to be running the same amount, and all of the mileage for the barefoot group will have to be done entirely barefoot.

Running less than 20 miles each week will be a relatively safe zone. The injuries would increase notably if the participants ran more than 20 miles per week. The mileage difference is actually a weakness in the study, and the data started to even out after the researchers calculated the injury rate for every 1,000 miles.

If both groups ran the exact miles, the results would differ significantly. Similar injury rates between these two groups will be more of a result of the training patterns over the shoes that are being used or even poor biomechanics.

With that being said, taking away any arch support could work to strengthen the foot. This may account for fewer plantar fasciitis occurrences in the barefoot group. Studies have shown a boost in the strength of muscles in feet by functioning barefoot or wearing minimalist shoe gear. Barefoot runners used in the study have had fewer injuries because they may be striking different pattern variations, which will allow the body to adopt a running form that is much more natural.

Runners can run in an all-natural form while wearing a traditional running shoe, yet with more of a cushioned and thicker heel with rigid soles. This can influence how a person runs.

What Mill Creek Foot & Ankle Recommends

If you are interested in barefoot running, you should only consider taking it on if you have good biomechanics and at least five years or more of running experience. Running barefoot can be done in addition to regular training, starting at about 10% barefoot running and then working up to it, which is about 20% of the workout.

Start using a minimalist shoe, and then you can strengthen your foot using daily exercises. After you go through a period of strengthening mixed with the successful use of minimalist shoes, you can go about barefoot strides on a grass field and then move on from there.

Barefoot running is encouraged, as it can help any runner adopt a natural strike pattern and stride. This can help cut back on the instance of injury while making running much more fun. Many minimalist shoe styles allow runners to run as though they are fully barefoot, yet they have the protection of a sole and a slight cushion for a longer run.

If you are a runner and you would like to know about the differences in injuries between barefoot and shod runners, call Mill Creek Foot & Ankle Clinic at (425) 482-6663.