Thursday, July 5, 2012

Barefoot Running and Heel Pain

Barefoot running is not a new fad, but with the advent of people looking to incorporate natural means into their exercising, it has risen in popularity. Some scientists believe that barefoot running can improve the health of your feet, knees, and hips, while reducing injuries like plantar fasciitis, or heel pain.
Barefoot running has existed throughout history for thousands of years and there are several cultures today, like in Haiti and Africa, that still run barefoot. In Haiti, researchers have found that those who wear shoes are more likely to have injuries to their feet and ankles than those who run barefoot.
Those who are proponents of barefoot running say that it allows the foot to operate as it was designed. Barefoot running makes the runner use the foot pads on the ball of the foot when striking the ground, rather than striking with the heel, which increases the shock absorbed by the legs and feet. This changes how you run, which advocates believe leads to a healthier foot and running form, also reducing the weight carried in your foot.
With the change in running form, barefoot runners are less likely to have plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, because they are not continuously striking the ground with their heels. The plantar fascia, the thick fibrous band that runs along the bottom of your feet, is less likely to become inflamed and painful because the excess stress you would experience in traditional running is not there. Plantar fasciitis is also caused by poor foot structure and an irregular arch. It is a common running injury.
When making the transition from shod running to barefoot running, do not jump into it right away. You need to ease into it because running shoes have allowed your foot muscles to relax and become undeveloped. You know how your body feels after a long spell of not exercising? Pretty tired and sore right? That's how your feet would feet from going from shoes to no shoes.
There is not enough evidence to effectively prove that barefoot running is more beneficial than running with shoes. Therefore, there is no evidence that barefoot runners are going to experience less or more heel pain. It is for each runner to discover on their own.
If you are experiencing heel pain from barefoot running, call our Rocky Hill or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Jeffrey S. Kahn, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Heel Pain Doctor in CT
Podiatrist in Rocky Hill and Middletown, CT
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