Research conducted in the Locomotion Lab at the University of Colorado found that running with shoes on may be more efficient for the body than running barefoot. Jason Franz, a doctoral student and the head of the study, and his colleagues had test subjects run on treadmills while wearing lightweight shoes and while barefoot with weights attached.
The researchers recorded their levels of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide exhalation and found that the runners used three to four percent more energy without shoes. According to Franz, this might be due to the increased amount of effort the body has to exert to cushion the impact of the feet without shoes.
Barefoot running has its own share of benefits and disadvantages. To learn more about this trend, consider speaking to one of our podiatrists of Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will explain the facts of barefoot running and help you decide if it’s a practice you’d like to take up.
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 contact one of our offices located in Illinois. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
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