Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Barefoot running: To ditch the shoes or not?

Date:
June 9, 2011
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
A hot issue among runners is whether running in bare feet reduces or increases the risk of injury. Experts say for some runners it could do both. The reason it could do both has to do with whether you grew up running in standard athletic shoes. The feet of runners land differently, depending on whether one is running in bare feet or in athletic shoes with a big cushion under the heel.

A hot issue among runners is whether running in bare feet reduces or increases the risk of injury. Stuart Warden, associate professor and director of research in the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, says for some runners it could do both.
Credit: aroberlin / Fotolia

A hot issue among runners is whether running in bare feet reduces or increases the risk of injury. Stuart Warden, associate professor and director of research in the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, says for some runners it could do both.

The reason it could do both, Warden said, has to do with whether you grew up running in standard athletic shoes. The feet of runners land differently, depending on whether one is running in bare feet or in athletic shoes with a big cushion under the heel.

Warden discussed this topic on June 2, at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Denver, during the symposium "Barefoot Running: So Easy, a Caveman Did It!"

For those who wish to switch from wearing shoes to running barefoot, there is more to do than throwing away their sneakers, Warden cautioned. Otherwise, the risk of injury could increase.

"The heel cushions and arch supports within modern shoes have made our feet weaker," Warden said. "The foot has so much support in these shoes that the muscles don't need to work as much as they would otherwise and have grown weaker . . . If you transition to barefoot running slowly and run correctly, so you build up to it, you could decrease the risk of injury over the long term."

Runners who suffer repeated running-related injuries and can't overcome them through rehabilitation may want to consider switching to barefoot running, Warden said. For recreational runners who are happy running in shoes and don't suffer repeated injuries, there is no need to switch, he added.

"There is no point in changing something that is not broken," Warden said.

Athletic shoes, with a big cushion under the heel, encourage the runner to strike the ground with heels first. The shoes also place the foot in a down position that makes it difficult to comfortably land on the front part of the foot.

Barefoot running encourages the runner to land on the forefoot or balls of the feet. Barefoot runners could land on their heels, if they chose to, but it would be painful, Warden noted.

When the heel strikes the ground in a shoe, there is an impact force that courses up through the foot and into the body, Warden said. The prevailing theory is that the impact force is related to stress fractures and other injuries associated with running. By decreasing those forces, the risk of injury is reduced.

When barefoot runners' feet strike the ground, the runner is landing on the front or middle of the foot and the heel is lowered to the ground, he noted. The impact force is less and the risk of potential injury is lower.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Barefoot running: To ditch the shoes or not?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607100744.htm>.
Indiana University. (2011, June 9). Barefoot running: To ditch the shoes or not?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607100744.htm
Indiana University. "Barefoot running: To ditch the shoes or not?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607100744.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins