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2011 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2012 1:30 PM by velocityJ RSS
sue_PT Amateur 6 posts since
Jan 20, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 15, 2012 3:16 AM

Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

Hi,

I am doing a little research to present to a bunch of physical therapists later this summer about the evidence in the research--pros, cons, injury risk, etc. for runners and walkers with different footwear, orthotics, or barefoot/minimalist shoes.  I have been an avid runner myself since high school (now 47), with 12 marathons, 6 half Ironmans, and oodles of other distances (running and triathlon) under my belt.  I just started experimenting with Vibrams and Newton minimalist shoes.  Just wondering what other runners and walkers thoughts were, as I know the research in inconclusive on most of this.  Any thoughts would be appreciated--I am presenting in Boston at end of July at the Rehab Summit.

Thanks for any info, comments or experiences you can share on shoes, barefoot, orthotics, minimalist shoe experiences, especially injuries, or prevention of injuries, training changes/modifications, etc.!

 

www.rehabsummit.com

 

Happy trails!

  • jbfreakout Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 5, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 15, 2012 3:49 AM (in response to sue_PT)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Hello there,

    I may not be much help, but I can share my experiences.  I am what some would call a newbie runner.  Have only been dabbling in running over the last 3-4 years, although inconsistently. I love and avidly participate in all outdoor sports and I guess there is too many and too little time! I will say this...I acquired some Orthotics approximately 3-4 months ago to correct a slight eversion of my stance and gate.  Before having these, I often had knee, low back and neck pain, especially after a distance run of more than 4 miles. I also use to get hip pain with these types of runs and only when running.  I have always been good at changing up my running shoe/sneakers every 6-8 months in general over the years, as well as selecting appropriate style footwear for each sport I practice, whether hiking, biking, running, climbing, etc., but this was obviously not enough.  Since acquiring and consistently using the Orthotics, I no longer experience any of those pains in my body, whether running or everyday wear!!  I have recently been training for a Tough Mudder though, and have developed what seems to be an Achilles Tendonitis. I am considering investing in the Barefoot runners, Pace Glove by Merrel, as these felt great when I tried them on and seem to be designed for what I would be completing in the Mudder.  I also read reviews and talked to folks who report this could help with the recent recurring injury I have been experiencing.  I will be following your feed here, as I am interested in what others have to say about this! I hope my input is helpful and good luck with your presentation!

    Jennifer

  • emalcon1 Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 13, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 15, 2012 9:34 AM (in response to sue_PT)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    I've been running for 15 years or so, including time in college. I got into barefoot/minimalist running a couple years ago with the original KSO's from Vibram. I wore a hole in those, so now I'm on to Bikila's, but they're fantastic. I tried Nike Frees, but got IT band issues because they changed my form so much.

     

    My biggest issue with the whole natural running trend is that while we may be going back to how our ancestors ran, we've got to keep in mind that our ancestors weren't running on rock (concrete) for extended periods of time. As such, I fully believe in at least some cushion (ie minimalist shoes) if your run is on concrete.

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 15, 2012 7:10 PM (in response to sue_PT)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Look for a very recent article by Dr. Daniel Lieberman of Harvard.  It is a very thorough review f the whole question of natural form running and points to the most critical areas where study needs to be pursued.  You might find it helpful. If you need to, you can find it on a thread over at the Barefoot Runners Society web site.

     

    fwiw, I started BF running from "couch" just over 2 years ago, and didn't own a pair of running shoes at all for the first 4 months.  I wear Vibrams now for trails, sometimes, or for longer races.  I had them on today, in fact, and realized I hadn't worn them since the 20th of May.





    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,313 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 15, 2012 8:32 PM (in response to Joseph Tree)
    Re: Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Here's one pretty good, balanced discussion of the issues.  Though it was written a year ago, so it doesn't include the very latest information.  Not that the latest does a whole lot to clarify things.  Read the comments after the article as well.  Also there is more info under the "Running Technique" heading at the top of the  page.

     

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2011/06/barefoot-running-shoes-and-born-to-run.html

     

    Len





    Len

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 18, 2012 11:37 AM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    What a great article, Len!  I have spent a lot of time reading about everything I can get my hands on in the BF running area, and that writeup is about the best summation I've come across.  I fit in neatly in his "damaged and coming back to running with zero expectations and therefore a reasonbly good candidate for success" category.

    Thanks!





    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,313 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jun 18, 2012 1:39 PM (in response to Joseph Tree)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    And I'm one of those barefoot heel strikers.  So maybe I should minimize how much BF I do.  As it happens, I'm also one of those lucky people who rarely gets injured.  So I'll probably stick mostly to shoes of some kind, but I'm fond of the lighter ones.

     

    Len





    Len

  • velocityJ Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 7, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 18, 2012 7:32 PM (in response to sue_PT)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Hi Sue, I'm a PT and have also been reviewing a lot of the research on this topic lately. I second Joseph Tree's suggestion about Dan Lieberman's work. I have links to some other studies looking at the effect of footwear on joint loading. If you're looking for more articles let me know

     

    I'm starting to conclude that the typical cushioned raised heel shoe is at the very least less than optimal for both walking and running. I developed plantar fasciitis after a running specialty store recommended I wear stability shoes AND orthotic inserts which I now realize was way too much support. Lately I've been transitioning to barefoot/minimalist running without problems although some people who are used to modern shoes may never be able to adjust their form enough to get the benefits and minimize the risks of barefoot/minimalist running.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,313 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jun 20, 2012 6:42 PM (in response to velocityJ)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Lieberman's studies are pretty good (if maybe a trifle biased).  But a number of recent studies by others tend to confound his results.  Not disprove, but the results can be conflicting, making it hard to see your way clearly.  Here's an article that's pretty interesting, though typical "sue over anything". 

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/03/vibram-shoes-named-in-lawsuit-danger-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FcJKs+%28The+Science+of+Sport%29&utm_content=FaceBook

    What's more interesting are the other articles and studies referenced from within this article.  Worth reading.

     

    Len

     

    BTW, velocityJ, that was not good advice you got from the running store.  But consider that PF seems also to be a relatively common injury among beginning barefoot runners, particularly those who are not cautious about early on.





    Len

  • velocityJ Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 7, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jun 24, 2012 1:30 PM (in response to sue_PT)
    Barefoot vs. Shoes vs. Orthotics?

    Great link Len. Its good to see some objectivity in this debate. There are certainly outspoken proponents for the barefoot movement that tend to overshadow the lack of clear evidence for their cause. The running shoe industry has also been promoting their shoe type classifications (neutral/stability/motion control) without much research and the same could be said of orthotics. I try to keep up with the research and current trends to expand my knowledge as a clinician but realize the limitations of trying to apply these findings in practice.

     

    Here is a fairly recent study (of which Lieberman was a part of) comparing injury rates in forefoot and rearfoot strikers.

    http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2012/07000/Foot_Strike_and_Injury_Rates_in_Endurance_Runners_.17.aspx

    The journal publishing this seems to publish a good number of barefoot studies so take it for what it's worth.

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