Running ‘Barefoot’ Might Increase Chance of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis, a painful and enduring heel injury, is among the injuries medical professionals see an increase in from patients who say they are “barefoot” runners.
This report comes from Matt Fitzgerald at Competitor.com:
“I see one injury over and over in the barefoot runners who come to me,” says Fogt: “plantar fasciitis.” A painful and difficult-to-overcome heel injury, plantar fasciitis accounts for less than 15 percent of all running injuries. The fact that it accounts for more than 90 percent of injuries in the barefoot runners Fogt sees suggests that it is barefoot running specifically, not overuse generally, that is causing these injuries. Thus, unless barefoot running is concurrently drastically reducing the likelihood of knee pain and other common running overuse injuries, then its overall impact on running injury risk is probably an increasing effect. If this is indeed the case, then the barefoot running injury epidemic is an ironic reality, as barefoot running is overtly promoted as a way to reduce injury risk.
The barefoot running trend is unquestionably at its peak and the Vibram Five Fingers is the product of choice for loyalists looking achieve minimal running. It’s gained a significant following based in part on the book Born To Run, in which the author criticizes the running shoe industry for marketing overprotective shoes while celebrating the free motion our running ancestors enjoyed.
The trend has created a backlash from many in the running industry, including Fitzgerald, who earlier this month penned a comprehensive article on why barefoot running won’t improve performannce.
I work at a running store in New York that doesn’t carry Vibrams despite growing demand that would surely benefit our bottom-line business. The company’s philosophy – which is made clear by internal email blasts sent regularly by managers that refute the trend – is similar to Fitzgerald’s: Even in a very slight moderation, barefoot running puts runners at a high risk for injury.
This report shouldn’t come as a shocking revelation, but it does affirm what many barefoot critics have said for months.