Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whoa there! Quick switch to 'barefoot' shoes can be bad to the bone

Date:
March 7, 2013
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
A new study from a team of exercise science professors found that runners who transition too quickly to 'barefoot' running shoes suffer an increased risk of injury to bones in the foot, including possible stress fractures.

Minimalist five-finger running shoes, subject of a new BYU exercise science study.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brigham Young University

or the growing number of runners who are considering trying "barefoot" five-finger running shoes, researchers at BYU have a message for you: Take it slow!

Related Articles


A new study from a team of exercise science professors found that runners who transition too quickly to minimalist shoes suffer an increased risk of injury to bones in the foot, including possible stress fractures.

With minimalist shoes now making up 15 percent of the $6.5 billion running shoe market, the findings are nothing to run from.

"Transitioning to minimalist shoes is definitely stressful to the bones," said Sarah Ridge, study lead author and assistant professor of exercise science at BYU. "You have to be careful in how you transition and most people don't think about that; they just want to put the shoes on and go."

The research, appearing online ahead of print in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, studied 36 experienced runners over a 10-week period.

Each runner first underwent MRIs on their feet prior to the study period. Half of the runners were then asked to gradually transition into five-finger minimalist shoes while the other half continued to run in traditional running shoes.

Subjects in the experimental group followed an industry suggested protocol. They did one short (1-2 mile) run in the minimalist shoes the first week, and added an additional short run each week so that they ran at least 3 miles in the new shoes by week three. They were then told to add mileage in the minimal shoes as they felt comfortable, with the goal of replacing one short run per week in traditional shoes with the new shoes.

At the end of the 10-week period, MRIs were again conducted. The MRIs revealed that those who had transitioned to the minimalist shoes suffered greater increases in bone marrow edema (inflammation causing excessive fluid in the bone) and more stress injuries than those in traditional shoes.

"Whenever a bone is impacted by running (or some other repetitive action), it goes through a normal remodeling process to get stronger," Ridge said. "Injury occurs when the impact is coming too quickly or too powerfully, and the bone doesn't have a chance to properly remodel before impact reoccurs."

Interestingly, the study found the majority of those who suffered stress injuries were women.

Ridge and her coauthors, which include BYU exercise science faculty Wayne Johnson, Ulrike Mitchell and Iain Hunter, said the study does not mean minimalist shoes are bad.

Rather, to minimize the risk of injuries, runners should transition over a longer duration than 10 weeks and at a lower intensity (miles per week).

"People need to remember they've grown up their whole life wearing a certain type of running shoes and they need to give their muscles and bones time to make the change," Johnson said. "If you want to wear minimalist shoes, make sure you transition slowly."

This is the first of many studies looking at minimalist running shoes, the authors said. Over the next several months they plan to publish enough research to begin to establish clear recommendations for anyone considering making the switch.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah T. Ridge, A.Wayne Johnson, Ulrike H. Mitchell, Iain Hunter, Eric Robinson, Brent S. E. Rich, Stephen Douglas Brown. Foot Bone Marrow Edema after 10-week Transition to Minimalist Running Shoes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182874769

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Whoa there! Quick switch to 'barefoot' shoes can be bad to the bone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092523.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2013, March 7). Whoa there! Quick switch to 'barefoot' shoes can be bad to the bone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092523.htm
Brigham Young University. "Whoa there! Quick switch to 'barefoot' shoes can be bad to the bone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092523.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
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


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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