Saturday, February 22, 2014

Minimalism Shoes: Overdone and Running on Empty

5 years ago the minimalist running shoe was at it's infancy. Now the trend is overdone. If minimalist shoes were a stock I'd sell them short. That's not to say most people need running shoes that are built like a tank or have soles like a snow tire. After Chris McDougall's book Born to Run the seed was planted for the Vibram 5 finger and the Nike there are dozens of choices that are available. The minimalist movement also was further hyped by the culture of crossfit. If you are a podiatrist like I am you would see first hand the injuries that are direct results from these shoes. My introduction to minimalist shoes came when my friend Jay started running barefoot. He will be the first to tell you that barefoot and running in minimalist shoes are not the same thing. We also agree that running barefoot or in minimalist shoes require a lengthy transition. 5 years ago I started to blog about it and that led to an interview in the Baltimore Sun which was then noticed by an MSNBC producer and I ended up being part of a panel interview by Dr. Nancy on barefoot running. Now the trend is running on thin treads. If you are lean and fit it's one thing but for much of the rest of the running populace there is no doubt in my mind that you increase the odds of sustaining plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and stress fractures, especially in the metatarsals. Runner's World has pronounced the trend cooling over the past year. A recent article showed that runners had more injuries with minimalist shoes.One small study showed equal numbers of injuries with a neutral shoe vs. minimalist shoes but the numbers were small. Larger studies are difficult to conduct because controlling the variables of runner's body type and training. I don't put much stock in Dan Lieberman's claims off small studies of elite runners at Harvard. He's not the one seeing the runners outside the lab hobble into our clinics.

1 comment:

Dooger said...

It's like anything else - people are uneducated on minimal shoes. A lot of people saw the shoes, bought them, slapped them on, then ran 8 miles and injuring themselves.

It's all about being able to run smoothly for each type of shoe that you are wearing.

The entire shoe fad is disgusting. There are so many shoes out there that are nothing but disasters waiting to happen.

Being barefoot is not a bad thing, and neither is wearing minimal shoes- just do it right and pay your dues (slowly transition). Just like when you buy a new pair of regular/padded shoes. You don't just slap them on and run 26.2- unless you want an injury.

I battled running injuries for a long time; Plantars, severe knee pain, severe hip and back pain, lack of stamina, etc. I tried everything to help them and when I transitioned into barefoot (which I am still making the transition) most of it went away.

Though I did get the tenderness on the top of the feet, inside on the ankle, calf pain, but it was all short lived.

I started to get IT band issues right before I transitioned and it kept me from running at all, and running barefoot it actually decreases that discomfort so I can actually run.

So, in short, it's like anything else. You have to do it right or it's going to be a disaster.

Everything is always quickly dismissed as a fad, and maybe it was, but that was only because a book brought it into the spotlight. People were running bare before and continued after.

The downside of the book was that people wanted to go barefoot in an instant...

And now people are seeing those Hokas (the ones that look like platform shoes) and they are now slapping those on and running 10 miles and hurting themselves - like someone in my running group.