Running with shoes is long a practice to protect the foot from shear forces from the impact on the ground. However, studies have shown that running shoeless has increased the running efficiency by 4% making it a fad in some runners. In fact, there has been an increase in the number of people trying barefoot running because of the alleged reduction in injury and enhanced biomechanics. Nevertheless, there seem to be a lack of other studies supporting barefoot running so before trying out to run without your shoes, it would be best to study the pros and cons of the activity and talk them over with your Wesley Chapel chiropractor.
Pros of Barefoot Running
Barefoot running is becoming very popular because of its advantages. These include:
- Reduction in the risk of injury while running
Experts and proponents have seen that not wearing shoes during running reduces injuries especially to the soft tissues in the feet. Wearing shoes seem to weaken the muscles around the feet as well as the ligaments and tendons leading to the loss of the natural arches in the feet. These may also lead to possible leg and knee injuries since poor biomechanics in the feet may subsequently put more burden to the upper areas of the lower limb. Despite this notion, podiatrists still recommend using supportive shoes and shoe inserts while running.
- Develops more natural gait
Barefoot running supports the normal anatomical position of the feet; thereby, promoting more natural gait, better proprioception and improved balance during running.
- Promotes better landing of the foot
Wearing shoes during running more often causes landing of the foot on the heels whereas barefoot running makes it possible to land on the forefoot where the weight of the body is evenly distributed.
- Allows your feet to be more grounded
Barefoot running also helps you become more connected to the environment. It allows better spreading of the toes and expansion of the feet for more comfort and better circulation.
Cons of Barefoot Running
Running barefooted is not always beneficial. For those who are not used to running without shoes, there can be a shock on the foot as it has not adapted very wall to moving without cushion or support. Aside from this, other disadvantages include:
- Provides less protection for the feet
Although barefoot running is believed to reduce injuries, the absence of protection for the foot may lead to increased risk for other sorts of injuries form broken glass, rocks, nails and thorns along the way. During cold weather, you are also not protected from frostbite and the like.
- Increases the risk for blisters and calluses
Since there is no protection for the soles of the feet, blisters are commonly seen among barefoot runners. After the appearance of blisters for the first few weeks, they may turn into stubborn and hard calluses.
- Increases the risk for the development of plantar fasciitis
Running without foot protection allows the plantar portion of the feet to come in contact with hard running surfaces leading to plantar pain and subsequently plantar fasciitis.
Before starting running shoeless, it is, therefore, suggested to look into the possible benefits as well as disadvantages to outweigh whether barefoot running is right for you. Although proponents believe that barefoot running may correct foot deformities while running, if you don’t have those problems in the first place, then you may opt not to run barefooted.