Barefoot running is most often popularized as a recreational sport; however, many professional runners have rightfully competed in races without proper footwear. Before deciding to compete in a race while running barefoot, it is best to train barefoot first to reduce injury. Professional runners such as Abebe Bikila, Zola Budd, P.C. Suppiah, and Tegla Loroupe have all ran barefoot in competitions, but because they either trained barefoot or at the time, did not have access to shoes. Additionally, distance running is the only competition where running barefoot seems feasible since there are no jumps or sprints that could cause detrimental injury to the lower extremities.
Barefoot running has its own share of benefits and disadvantages. To learn more about this trend, consider speaking to Dr. Carl Ingrassia of Fords Foot and Ankle Care. Our doctor will explain the facts of barefoot running and help you decide if it’s a practice you’d like to take up.
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 and ankles and the 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 contact our office located in Fords, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.