Is Barefoot Running Harmful For Your Feet?

Barefoot running has become trendy recently, and a number of people have been  sporting glove-like shoes with five compartments for their toes. This interesting-looking footwear is part of a trend called “barefoot running” that involves running in thin-soled shoes or wearing no footwear at all. If you have seen ads for these shoes or seen people wearing them, you may be wondering, “Is barefoot running harmful for your feet?”

Is Barefoot Running Harmful for your Feet: the Answer

Advocates of barefoot running point out that this practice is more natural because the ball of your foot strikes the ground first and reduces the demand on the knees. As a result, the likelihood that a knee injury will occur is lessened.

When someone walks with shoes, he or she lands with the heel first. The impact goes directly to the foot and knee. For this reason, running shoes are designed with cushioning in the heels and soles.

How to Perform Barefoot Running Safely

Barefoot running should be attempted only after you have taken the time to perform exercises to strengthen your feet, ankles and calves. If you are used to wearing shoes, your feet will not be conditioned to the shift in demand to the balls of your feet and you run the risk of developing calf muscle fatigue, Achilles tendon tears, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures in the tibia.

You also run the risk of injury to your feet by stepping on glass, stones or other sharp objects if you decide to run barefoot. Unless you have access to a safe place that is free from hazards, you are better off running indoors.

Barefoot running is not recommended if you plan to run over long distances. This can be a strenuous muscle workout for your lower legs and feet. Well-fitting running shoes that offer support can still have a place in your routine to improve your performance and help to prevent injury.

If you are experiencing pain after barefoot running or have any other concerns about your foot health, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M. is an experienced podiatrist who can diagnose and treat your foot and ankle concerns. Contact him today to make an appointment for your personal consultation.