Thanks to the book “Born to Run” and its spin-off movie, barefoot running became a trending form of exercise. Hundreds of runners began to support the belief that naturally landing on the bare forefoot would lessen impending running injuries. With the trend came “barefoot shoes” that attempted to emulate the feeling of running barefoot without actually having to do so. While the excitement over barefoot running has died down, barefoot exercises are still being heralded for their ability to strengthen the foot and improve flexibility. Benefits also include better gait patterns, fall prevention for the elderly, and the rehabilitation of knee and hip pain.
Barefoot running is a fairly popular trend in the running world. More than just simply ‘running without shoes,” barefoot running affects the way your feet hit the ground and your overall posture. Barefoot runners land on the front part of their feet as opposed to those who wear shoes, who usually strike their heel as they hit the ground.
Barefoot running contains many advantages, including:
- A lower risk for ankle and foot injuries
- Improvement in balance and body posture
- Strengthens muscles in the lower legs, ankles and feet that are not normally worked when wearing shoes
There are also some disadvantages to barefoot running, which include:
- Lack of shoes increases the risk of incurring blisters, scrapes, bruises and cuts
- Risk of Achilles tendonitis as a result of landing on the front of your feet constantly
- Needing time and transition to adjust as the switch cannot be automatic
Start on even, flat surfaces and consider investing in minimalist running shoes. Minimalist running shoes provide the ‘feel’ of barefoot running while affording the same protection you get from wearing shoes. Barefoot running can be safe and enjoyable with the proper planning and transition.
If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Connecticut. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.