There are already a significant number of people who advocate running barefoot because according to them, running with no shoes may enhance feet biomechanics. Studies already revealed that barefoot running is indeed able to increase the efficiency of the feet by 4%; however, there are also studies that indicate the possible disadvantages of barefoot running such as increasing external foot injuries.
Proponents of barefoot running state that shoes may actually weaken the tendons as well as the small muscles in the feet causing foot problems. Also, shoes may disrupt the natural arch of the feet that may lead to flat feet or overarching of the feet. In this line, they advocate running barefoot.
In contrast, proponents of running with shoes indicate that wearing shoes may correct the biomechanical problems in the feet. Shoes, according to them, also reduce the risk for foot injuries that may be caused by external mechanical factors.
With these contradictions, it becomes hard to decide whether to run barefooted or not. In this line, it is essential to look into running barefoot in an unbiased manner by analysing the pros and cons of barefoot running.
Pros of Barefoot Running
Barefoot running may actually yield the following benefits:
• It strengthens the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the foot.
• It allows for a more natural gait.
• It helps the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon to stretch and lengthen. This significantly reduces the incidence of Achilles tendinitis and calf pulls.
• Barefoot running helps people land in their forefoot and not on the heels, which will help reduce heel injuries and will help stabilize the weight on the foot. According to experts, a heel stride during running is not actually the best running form that anyone could employ. In fact, more efficient runners land on their forefoot or mid-foot for smoother and lighter strides.
• It improves proprioception and balance because running barefoot activates the smaller muscles in the legs and feet for better balance.
These are the advantages of running barefoot so if you want better biomechanics, you may consider barefoot running.
Cons of Barefoot Running
Barefoot running is not without disadvantages including:
• Absence of foot protection
If you are running barefooted, your feet tend not to be protected from mechanical, chemical and biological factors that are present in the ground. Mechanical factors may include heat, broken glass, rocks, nails and thorns. Chemical factors may involve spilled contaminants in the ground and biological factors may include pinworms or hookworms that can enter the skin once the foot comes in contact with the contaminated ground.
• Aggravation of plantar pain
The bottom of the foot is usually soft; thus needs protection. When the foot comes in contact with a hard surface such as the ground, it may cause plantar pain that may also predispose plantar fasciitis.
• Increased foot blisters
Because of the absence of mechanical support, the feet may develop blisters on the plantar or bottom area as friction is created between the foot and the ground.
• Increased social stigma
While you run barefooted, people may stare at you because you may look strange jogging without any footwear.
Before deciding on barefoot running, you must consider the above factor first. Depending on your condition, you may go barefoot running or have your shoes instead, and having your orthotic health examined by your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor is always a good idea too.