Common Injuries Associated with Barefoot Running

Our foot is specifically designed to naturally absorb the shock that is brought about by the impact as we are in motion. The arch provides the adequate cushion so that we may withstand our movements painlessly and effortlessly. As the new trend today popularizes the use of padding in the form of wearing shoes, the natural method and compensatory mechanism of the foot is then put into minimal form. With this, some motion such as the likes of running would then send the shock up through the heel, knees and hips thus causing injuries.

In line with this dilemma, many have traded shod running over barefoot running, as they wish to be in touch with the runners’ natural ability and innate compensatory skills. Barefoot running utilizes the main component of downward directed force that would propel the runner forward as they would land on midfoot, as compared to wearing foot gears that would cause the runner to strike the ground on heels which in turn would make them more susceptible to trauma and injuries.

Running barefoot is not that ideal however, because most surfaces we step on are hard and not at all bare feet-friendly. Among the most common injuries it causes are blisters which are apparently on top of the list of barefoot running trademarks. This is due to running long hours on surfaces that are too rough that later on would cause friction burns which causes damage to the sole of the foot.

Internal injuries can also occur, like sprains and stress impact injuries due to wrong pronation angle and force of impact. In the course of running barefoot another common injury is also brought about by broken glass and other sharp objects that are littered almost anywhere and everywhere, thus causing skin breakage. Might even give the runner nasty cuts and if not taken cared off properly then it would eventually lead to infection, which is harder to manage as it would take longer before it heals.

The biggest hazard there is in running barefoot is if the feet gets to be soaked for a long time in damp areas, thereby causing the skin to get wrinkled, loose and soft, which would eventually lead to skin peeling and torn off as it constantly makes contact on rough and hard surfaces. Because of this it would take time for the runner to get back on track as it is evidently hard to run barefoot with a part of your skin torn off.

Who knows what we might step on the pavements while we do our daily run, as ideal as it may be, one cannot help to think about the risk factors it may bring us if we go out unprotected no matter how health conscious our aim is to be. Extremes of surfaces and weather conditions can cause discomfort and even injuries to our foot and that is why it is of great importance that we are protected in one way or another.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Chris Johnson May 23, 2010, 3:50 pm

    The “text” of this review is worse than any podiatrist fear mongering I have read. Really?
    The video is much more balanced.
    I use Vibrams primarily and barefoot for training my stride. Every injury I have had was preventable by not being overjealous. But a picture of a bloody foot with ponds of blood below the foot? Attacked by mountain lions maybe?
    Is there a similar blog warning the hazzards of using a minimalist shoe. Frankly, all of the injuries mentioned in this article are possible in Vibrams. Less protection means paying more attention to what you are doing.
    Just my rant….what do I know? : )

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  • DeAnna Rice June 16, 2010, 11:36 pm

    i have fibromyalgia and i walk barefoot and i walked barefoot before it was “cool”, over asphalt and on sidewalks. i don’t feel the need to buy shoes, i simply wear a pair of cheap socks at the 99 cents store and can walk for 5 miles before i get a hole. its not that hard to pay attention to where you are stepping even with ear phones on, so i’m not sold that not wearing shoes is so harmful. In fact with “good” walking shoes, i found myself in ALOT more pain, and my knees specially my knee i dislocated is now pain free and much stronger

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