The Advantages of Barefoot Running

barefootAthletic shoes have long been considered one of the most important things about a workout and that is true, but not in the way you might think. When people think of traditional running shoes, they think of shoes with a lot of cushion that provide a lot of support. Depending on what kind of foot you have, you may need that, but for most people it’s more fashion than function. Barefoot running is the latest craze, but is there any benefit to running “barefoot” or wearing minimalist shoes? Read on to find out!

The Idea Behind Barefoot Running

The premise behind barefoot running is fairly simple: your muscles, joints, ligaments and mechanoreceptors in your feet require stimulation in order to work properly. Shoes that have a lot of padding and support can get in the way of this, causing the muscles that your foot would normally use to run to become weak – and that leads to more injuries and reduced athletic performance. It is also thought that the thick padding on the heels of running shoes encourage runners to strike with their heel and not their forefoot- something that minimalist “barefoot” shoes are thought to correct.

The Risks

Not having the right shoes for an activity can open you up to injury, so that’s why it’s very important to have the right shoes on your feet. Barefoot and minimalist shoes have their own associated risks, though. Tendonitis, metatarsal stress fractures, cuts, bruises, puncture wounds and even frostbite are all risks that can impact the barefoot runner.

How to Give Barefoot Running a Try

It has not been determined yet if barefoot running is absolutely better than running with shoes – even traditional running shoes. But, if you are interested to give it a try for yourself then talk to your chiropractor about what they would suggest to start. Also, buy some minimalist shoes or go barefoot and start with walking first – you will want to gradually work into running. The progress you make should be very small; you should begin running for five minutes and then gradually go for longer.

Minimalist shoes are also very popular and are a great alternative to going completely barefoot. They can help to protect your feet from road or trail hazards without giving you too much cushion or support. If you have any pain when barefoot running, then immediately stop. Also, if it’s freezing outside protect those feet with some shoes!

Discuss barefoot running with your chiropractor to see if it’s right for you!

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Andrew Gustar

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.