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Is Barefoot Running the Right Choice for You? Read On to Decide.

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Is Barefoot Running the Right Choice for You? Read On to Decide.

To barefoot run, or not: that is the question.

Some may consider barefoot --or minimalist -- running a “fad,” but to others, it’s the only way to run.

We asked Riva Rahl, MD, Preventive Medicine Physician and Medical Director at Cooper Clinic her opinion. As a marathon and ultra marathon runner Dr. Rahl recommends wearing shoes. Having run more than 40 marathons, winning the White Rock Marathon in Dallas and the Fort Worth Marathon she should know.

“Running without shoes adds tremendous pressure on your joints,” says Dr. Rahl. “Shoes provide support from the arch of your foot to your knees, hips and up.” Extra weight adds stress to the joints and increases risk of injury. Every step sends a shock to the foot that is transmitted to the knee and hip. That extra weight with minimal shock absorption from shoes can result in arthritis or “runner’s knee.”

According to Dr. Rahl, Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis are two other conditions commonly seen in individuals who are barefoot or minimalist runners. These conditions are the result of insufficient heel support. The treatment for such conditions is to wear shoes that provide more heel support.

“If you plan to run more than one mile and want to be able to run again tomorrow and next week, you are far better off wearing shoes than not,” Dr. Rahl suggests. “Consider the Nike Free. The shoe is lightweight and designed to let the feet move naturally while providing some shock absorption and support to the foot.”

If you have questions about starting to run, talk to a running professional at a local running store. They can usually analyze your gait and recommend a shoe that will keep you injury-free.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.