DMFA Blog

Posts for tag: barefoot running

From last month's Quarryman Challenge race in Lemont to the recent Bacon Chase 5K at Montrose Beach to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, there are plenty of races happening in the area during the warm months to keep runners active.

At DM Foot & Ankle Ankle, my colleague, Dr. Michelle Kim, and I see lots of runners in our Lemont office. They come to us with everything from heel pain to ankle sprains. And when it comes to running shoes, it seems the trend of running in minimalist shoes – think of the FiveFingers shoes made my Vibram – are giving way to footwear that's quite the opposite.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, some runners are giving up “barely there” shoes in favor of those offering “maximal cushioning” to help provide exercise without destroying the legs.

These types of shoes look like updated, more colorful models of orthopedic footwear – and the Post claims some have called them “clown shoes” – but nearly a half-dozen shoe makers, including Nike, Brooks and New Balance, recently started selling shoes with soles that are roughly 30 percent thicker than typical running shoes.

The Post reports the first company to offer the super-cushioned shoes was Hoka One One. The company’s president even touts the design, according to the Post, as “the most dramatic advance in running footwear in 30 years” because the shoes' soft ride may help runners whose legs have taken a beating over the years.

But this is not the first time a shoe company has made such claims. Makers of barefoot and minimalist shoes also said their footwear could prevent injury. Those at shoe company Vibram, makers of the FiveFingers shoe, agreed to refund $3.75 million to customer last month after a lawsuit accused the company of making claims that it couldn’t support – mainly that its shoes reduce injuries and strengthen foot muscles.

At DM Foot & Ankle, we know there are lots of choices when it comes to running shoes, and we are happy to offer advice based on your foot and ankle needs. Call our office if you need help picking out the right running footwear – we also offer pre-made and custom inserts that many runners find helpful.

Good luck as you put miles on your shoes this summer!

By Diana Emini

Early Sunday morning, thousands of runners – 3,500 to be exact – will get up before dawn, brave the cold and hit the streets for the first-ever Naperville Marathon.

The race website says nearly 75 percent of runners are from Naperville and nearby communities, a list that likely includes Lemont.

Meanwhile, the event serves as a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.

While plenty of athletes will sport shoes of all sorts along the 26.2-mile route, some runners might not wear shoes at all.

A trend has emerged among some joggers:  Barefoot running. It's also called minimalism or natural running and involves wearing thin-soled shoes – or no shoes at all. It's considered by some as a way to correct a runner’s form and prompt a forefoot strike -- which, believe it or not -- some say can lead to fewer injuries than those who run with a heel-strike.

Barefoot running has even prompted footwear companies to offer special shoes – perhaps the most well-known is Vibram with its FiveFingers shoe – to those who want to try barefoot running while protecting their feet.

According to Runners World magazine, research hasn't concluded whether barefoot running has benefits.

Regardless, advocates say it strengthens feet and cuts down on common running injuries such as shin splints.

Perhaps not surprisingly, barefoot running is controversial.

The New York Times reported that five different studies at this summer's American College of Sports Medicine meeting found no major benefits to switching to barefoot-style shoes.

Other researchers asked 566 runners if they ever tried – and liked – barefoot-style shoes. About a third of the runners said they'd tried them. Of of those, 32 percent said they got injuries they blamed on the footwear.

 

Also, the Times reported that Brigham Young University researchers didn't find evidence that barefoot-style running toughens foot muscles, which advocates say could prevent injury.

As podiatrists at DM Foot and Ankle, we see plenty of local athletes and runners and get asked about this topic frequently When it comes to barefoot running or minimalist shoes, we believe high-impact sports such as running should NOT be done in shoes that lack structure, support or shock absorption.  Very few people have the ideal arch or foot conditioning to run on concrete with bare feet.  My colleage, Dr. Michelle Kim, and I see this as stress fracture, foot sprain or tendon injury waiting to happen! 

Different feet need different arch and shoe support.  Not every shoe is right for every foot – so if you are unsure, call us for an evaluation.  We are happy to help.

 

By Diana Emini