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!

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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. 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:
from the past week

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