OK, so I have a lot of patients come to my office just to ask if this is safe. Here is my answer!
The idea of barefoot running isn't really skin to ground contact. It is the use of a type of shoe called Minimalist.
One of the ideas of barefoot running is to develop the "intrinsic" muscles of the foot. They are the tiny little muscles in the foot that are similar to the hand. By strengthening them the idea is that the body will propulse with more stability, increase joint and bone mechanics, and prevent injury. By doing this it also increases the strength of the "extrinsic" or large muscles and tendons of the leg and foot. The overall result should make the body stronger.
So then, why isn't everyone doing this? Because after going around life in supportive shoe gear, the small muscles of the foot can get injured if they are pressed too hard. How many times have we gone to the gym to use the Peck Deck and to all of the sudden feel a kink in our neck. It is easy to hurt muscles we don't use when we try to train them or stress them the wrong way. For that reason, the die-hard runner may feel fine in them, while the "weekend warrior" will get injured.
Additionally, the one thing I want to stress is before you try any new type of shoe, look at your feet. If you have toes that curl, bumps of the sides or top of your foot, or calluses under the outside part of your foot, think twice about running barefoot. It is very VERY easy to hurt yourself if you already have a foot balance issue, or your bones are not strong enough. This type of running is NOT for weight loss, or for those just starting to exersise.
For those that want to do it and can do it.......go for it! But for all others....Get some Orthotics in your Cross Trainers until you’re ready!
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