Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Running in the bare …

There is a growing trend occurring among runners – running without shoes.  You may think “ouch” right away; I know I did, but some studies from Harvard have proven that running barefoot enhances stride and prevents injury.  And surprisingly some runners find that it’s more enjoyable than running with shoes.

However, before you make the decision to try running barefoot, you should look at all the factors and decide if this is best for your feet.

Pros of running barefoot:

    •        You could develop a more natural gait, and strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot.

    •        You will land on the forefoot rather than your heel.  When you land on your heel it puts on the breaks every step.  But when you land on your forefoot it allows your arches to act as natural shock absorbers.

    •        You could improve your balance.  Without shoes you activate the smaller muscles in your feet, ankles, legs and hips that are responsible for better balance and coordination.

    •        When you run barefoot you may feel more grounded.  It helps you improve balance and becomes a more solid and connected base that supports your movements. 

Cons of running barefoot:

    •        You have no foot protection from cold weather and road debris, such as glass, nails, and rocks.

    •        Running with bare feet can increase Achilles Tendinitis, calf strain and Plantar pain. 

    •        Blisters!  Until you have acclimated to running barefoot, expect blisters until calluses have formed. 

    •        The fat pads on the bottoms of your feet will get thinner overtime, which make barefoot running a long-term risk and could result in more problems with your feet.

    •        No shoes will lead to funny looks from people.  It’s not a common practice among people to run without shoes, so get ready for looks and questions.   

Still unsure?  I would encourage you to consult with Dr. Jeffrey Bowman, DPM before you decide to venture into a world of running barefoot. 
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