Barefoot or Minimalist Shoe Running

By R. Stephen Lucie, MD

Please Read this Article about Barefoot or Minimalist Running Shoes by Dr. Lucie.

The national bestseller book, Born to Run, written by Christopher McDougall, has sparked an interest in the
return to basic running either barefoot or in minimalist shoes. This craze can be seen if you pick up any runners’
magazine and while we rarely see people running barefoot around Jacksonville on our roads, many runners, both
competitive, cross country high school runners, as well as recreational runners are seen participating in local races
in minimalist running shoes.

Couple Running

Running Injuries

Running Injuries

Part of the reason for this is each year, almost 40% of runners will sustain some type of injury which will keep
them out of running for a period of time. Many of these injuries have to do with training errors, running too far
too soon or too fast, but a lot of them have to do with the rigorous demands of the sport. Running shoes have
evolved greatly over the past 30 years where as back in the 1970s only the true runners were running in shoes
which amounted to today’s minimalist shoes.

Running Shoes

Running Shoes

Running Shoes

The running shoe industry has made great advances in cushioning,
support and technology over this period of time and we now have running shoes capable of absorbing a lot of
shock. Consequentially, some of our running styles have evolved into an over-stride heel strike which transmits
shock and forces up through the body causing injuries both to the heel, the plantar fascia, the shins, or the knees.
Barefoot or minimalist shoe running involves lighter foot reactive forces as you are landing on your forefoot or
with your foot flat and then quickly lifting off with a much lighter running style.

Some of the world’s greatest runners from Kenya and the Tarahumara Indians from the mountains of Mexico
spend much of their time barefoot or wearing very minimal footwear and consequently have been able to perform
and run great distances in very minimal shoes. Unfortunately, Americans have grown up in very supportive shoes
from day one, ladies are often in heels or kids are in fancy cross trainers and our working men and women in
work boots, cowboy boots and our business executives in shoes with heels. Our culture has caused our feet to be
lazy and consequently if one is not careful, a rapid transition to barefoot or minimalist running can cause many

Running On The Beach or Grass

While some limited barefoot running on the beach or grass surfaces, such as golf courses, can certainly help build
up strength in the foot, one much temper our enthusiasm to avoid serious injuries. If you are a runner and are
interested in improving your running, many of the stores in Jacksonville have classes to teach better running form
and the biomechanics as well as analyze your gait. Some of the newer shoes and minimal shoes can help you run
more efficiently, pound less, and avoid transmitting the shock from a hard heel strike up to the rest of your body.
None of us would probably attempt to play golf without lessons and there are definitely ways to improves ones
running and help you enjoy exercise in sport in a safe and efficient manner.

JOI Rehab

Whether you are suffering from back issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity, JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

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