posted: Jul. 27, 2021.
If you’re a runner, you may have heard about barefoot or minimalist shoe running. At NextGen Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we want to help our Pasadena patients understand the pros and cons of this activity so they can make an informed decision about whether or not it may be right for them.
Start with a Checkup
Barefoot running or running wearing a minimalist style shoe that tries to mimic the biomechanics of barefoot running while still providing basic coverage to protect your feet from the elements is a significant change for your feet and best done in consultation with our podiatrists, Dr. Samvel Keshishyan, Dr. Samvel Keshishyan, and Dr. Samvel Keshishyan. Traditional running shoes provide much more cushioning than your feet naturally have. It is to help absorb shock and prevent strain to the heel and bottom of your foot. The heel cushioning and arch support can reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis. The foot doctor will examine your feet and consider previous injuries and any chronic podiatric problems you may be experiencing. He can then make recommendations regarding this and other fitness activities.
Proponents of barefoot running believe the interaction of your foot with the ground improves biomechanics by enabling your foot to work the way it was naturally designed. They maintain that this can have the following benefits:
- Increased running efficiency
- Improves gait
- Strengthens muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the feet
- Increases balance and proprioception
- Forces you to use the correct form and technique
- Reduces the risk of specific foot, ankle, knee, and leg injuries
There are some obvious and not-so-obvious risks associated with barefoot and minimalist running, including:
If after considering the potential risks and benefits you want to give this style of running a try, remember to break your feet in gradually. Start with a walk before you run. Try short distances at first and check your feet for blisters and other problems. If you have pain in your feet, ankles or legs, contact us for evaluation and help.