Going barefoot when doing exercise may lead to the buildup of stronger muscles and bones, as well as flexibility in the feet. Dr. Phil Hoffman suggests that footwear can be regressive for the feet, potentially weakening the structure of the foot because the shoe offers support while limiting movement. Footwear however, does offer protection for our feet. It is recommended to try going barefoot in safe environments to strengthen and train the feet.
Barefoot running has its own share of benefits and disadvantages. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists of Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will diagnose and treat your foot and ankle needs.
The Impact of Barefoot Running
-Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
-Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.
The Advantages of Barefoot Running
-When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced, this can reduce stress injuries.
-It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
-Balance of the body is improved and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.
The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running
-No protection while running, makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
-Blisters may form.
-Possibility of plantar fascia problems.
-Risk of getting Achilles tendonitis.
So what can runners do to make barefoot running safe? It’s best to make a slow transition from running shoes to barefoot running. Once the feet begin to adjust, try walking, then jogging and gradually increasing the distance. Minimalist running shoes may also be an option.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Illinois. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.