What's the idea behind barefoot running?

The barefoot running idea and the associated minimalist shoe craze has really taken the running circles by storm the last few years. There is much controversy over it and rightfully so when foot and ankle health may be at stake.

The idea behind ditching traditional running shoes and running barefoot is to avoid a jarring heel strike by landing more gently on the mid or fore-foot. Supporters of barefoot running argue that the force put on feet while wearing running shoes and landing on the rear-foot is what leads to many running-related injuries. It is stated by many that barefoot running improves strength and balance as the body is forced to perform a more natural running style.

While research and studies may support health benefits from barefoot running, there is not much evidence for the long-term effects. Recent reports have noted that this style of running puts a runner at risk for stress on the lower extremities and increases chances for injuries such as plantar fasciitis, calf pain and tibial stress fractures.

If you are interested in this style of running, consult Dr. Danciger before stepping out without the protection of good, supportive shoes. You may have underlying conditions or a foot structure that would be aggravated and unable to withstand the change. 

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle