Barefoot Running News: No More Back and Knee Pain with Barefoot/Minimalist Running and the Case for Running Shoes

Oh boy, have I got some interesting news for you this week! First off, let’s look at a couple of ladies who have greatly benefited from barefoot running. And later, you will find the interesting results of the latest study that was made on barefoot running!

Karina Pack: No Shoes, No More Orthotics, and No More Back and Knee Pain

Ever since 36 year old Karina Pack was a teenager, she had to use orthotics. These of course hindered her to run naturally as they were clunky which eventually led her to suffer from knee and lower back pain. But seeing a barefoot runner passed her by change that. She decided to give barefoot running a try. After consulting her doctor, she ditched her shoes and ran unshod.

Pack said, “When you first start out, you really notice how much pressure running puts on your feet. You don’t go any faster or further. It’s more about the longevity of the sport. I’d like to run for as long as I can.”

Just after nine months into running without shoes, Pack’s feet and legs have adjusted and she could run without feeling any pain in her back or knee. Her doctor informed her that it did the trick for her and that barefoot running was working to her advantage.

After nine months, Pack could run without back or knee pain. Her legs and feet adjusted.

She went back to her doctor and was informed the barefoot running seemed to be working to her advantage.

Read the full story here.

Kay Lund: FiveFingers Helped My Knee Pain

Due to a bout of knee pain, Kay Lund, a 46 year old runner who has been running since her early 20’s, decided to give Vibram FiveFingers a try. She had to switch from her old shoes to the VFFs and vice versa though for a month just to get used to the shoes. And, even though she is still working up to longer distance running, her knee pain has already subsided.

According to Dr. Ross Leonard, a practicing podiatric in Klamath Falls where Kay lived, minimalist shoes are comfy. He added, “They force you to run differently than conventional shoes, allowing all your body parts to do what they do, making for a well-rounded running experience.”

More of Kay Lund’s story here.

Running Shoes, Physiologically Easier than Barefoot?

A study that was recently conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder suggests that wearing running shoes is physiologically easier than barefoot if done in the right circumstances. The study, which involved 12 well-trained male runners with extensive barefoot running experience, found out that barefoot runners use 4% more energy than shod runners making it less efficient.

This led them to believe that since barefoot runners are not wearing any cushioning, the force of the impact needs to be cushioned by something else. And that something else is our legs. It’s important to note however that the researchers only looked at the metabolic efficiency of running barefoot versus wearing shoes and that the health benefits were not included in the study.

In the end, serious racers should consider which one they would rather sacrifice, less mass on their feet or more possible strain on their leg muscles. As for the rest of us, the takeaway from this study is to invest in a slimmed-down trainer. Lighter footwear or minimalist shoes that can provide cushioning can spare our leg muscles from unnecessary strain without the bulky mass that could slow our movement. Dr Franz says this is the physiologically smartest alternative to being bare!

Making the Case for Running Shoes

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