You may have heard of the new ‘barefoot sneaker’ craze that is sweeping the fitness world. This new lightweight shoe is designed and shaped to mimic barefoot running, and give a striding free-form run. While barefoot running has always had a following among the alternative health and fitness gurus, the barefoot sneaker may be proving to be not all its cracked up to be.
As avid runners and athletes continue to experiment with barefoot running shoes, doctors say they are having to treat an increasing number of injuries from improper use. Injuries ranged from pulled calf muscles, a Achilles tendinitis, and metatarsal stress fractures. While most of the injuries could have been avoided with proper practice, many injuries leave runners laid up for several months at a time.
Many barefoot runners and athletes who have switched to barefoot running shoes are devoted to their new sport, and claim to be less prone to injuries than in their standard athletic shoe. While there is no evidence that suggests that barefoot runners suffer fewer injuries, the answer may be attributed to improper training.
A runner who wears athletic running shoes tend to land on their heels when they run, while a barefoot runner lands midfoot or forefoot. Transitioning can cause injuries if the runner pushes too hard without letting their feet and leg muscles adjust to the new exercise.
If a runner would like to switch to barefoot running it is strongly advised not to overdo it in the first few months of training. Most people jump into barefoot running a little too enthusiastically, putting too much strain on the feet of those who are not used to the different forces of forefoot strike.
While injuries already run high, it is estimated that between 30 and 70 percent of all runners suffer repetitive stress injuries each year. It is important that avid runners train properly and do not over-do it no matter what type of footwear they choose.
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