May 25, 2012
-- Podiatry Arena is a website for discussion about podiatry and related issues and has a lot of content on the claims being made for barefoot. Barefoot running is a trend in the running community that a lot of unsubstantiated claims are being made for it. Many barefoot running websites make claims about all the science that supports barefoot running when in reality there is no research that shows barefoot running is any better than shoe running. There is plenty of research to show that barefoot running is different to shoe running. One of the contributors to Podiatry Arena, Craig Payne frequently points out that “there is nothing wrong with barefoot running, the problem is the problem is misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science by the Evangelists from the Church of Barefoot Running” ( http://www.podiatry-
t=64746 ). The claims are made are that there are less injuries that occur in barefoot running, yet there is no research that support that. Payne points out that “there is no doubt that there are many people with a history of running injury that are now running barefoot and having no problems. Equally there are any people getting injuries from running barefoot. Just look at all the runners asking for advice on barefoot running websites for their injury. Just ask anyone who works in a running injury clinic about how many barefoot running injuries they are treating. They will tell you that the number they are treating is out of proportion to the number of people running barefoot”. All we have are anecdotes and testimonials and no good science.
A recent study from Harvard University shows how the barefoot running community misuse and misinterpret the research ( http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.p...
) . The study compared the injury rate in forefoot strikers and rearfoot strikers and the injury rate was twice as high in the rearfoot strikers. As most barefoot runners strike with the forefoot, many in the barefoot community claims that this study proves you get less injuries running barefoot. However, Payne points out that “this study was on 56 subjects who were almost elite level runners and they were all wearing shoes”. So thus study is hardly applicable to the average runner, let alone barefoot running! He points out that “the claims also ignore the research of Kleindienst who looked at 471 runners and found no difference between rearfoot and forefoot strikers concerning the frequency of injury and of Walther who looked at 1203 runners and also found no difference in incidence of injury between rearfoot and forefoot strikers.” Payne, who does some of his running in minimalist footwear, notes that there is no doubt barefoot or minimalist or forefoot strike running does help some runners and we are starting to develop a better theoretical understanding supported by some research as to who should benefit the most form this and who should not try it.
For all the research and discussions on barefoot running at Podiatry Arena, see this: running http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/tags/index.p...