Is it just about technique? Barefoot mechanics Risk & reward An injury epidemic Getting started 50% Impact transient Sudden force
2.5 x BW
High loading rate
May increase injury risk Shoes reduce impact transient, absorbing impact at the heel The impact transient is absent when barefoot Divided by belief 1 week Failure (10%) Evangelical Aggressively anti ? Success (10%) 6 months Never Key questions Belief There is as yet insufficient evidence to make a clear case one way or the other Evidence for and against shoes?
What happens to a runner without their shoes?
Does it mean anything?
Why, how and who? Our anticipation (awareness) can alter our mechanics YOU Why it works Why it fails Anecdote Evidence The paleo-influence "endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form" Perception physiology Ineffective interventions Control group Experimental group Stability shoe High arch Low arch Neutral/ cushioned shoe Motion-control shoe Basic combat training
9 weeks Changing the load Threshold for adaptation model Injury (& overtraining) happen because the physical stress level excessively exceeds the thresholds for adaptation, or exceeds the thresholds for too long Injury prevention means: Manage the stress level - adjust training volume and intensity (or both)
Modify the thresholds - same training, different injury outcome Impact forces in shoes and barefoot Habitually shod
(worn shoes whole life) Habitually barefoot (never worn shoes) ± 90% ± 10% When wearing shoes When barefoot ± 50% ± 50% Habitually shod
(worn shoes whole life) Habitually barefoot (never worn shoes) 60-70% 30-40% 10-20% 80-90% The majority of shoe-wearers are heel-strikers People who habitually run barefoot are more likely to forefoot (or midfoot) strike Shoe-wearers still heelstrike when barefoot.
At least at first Habitually barefoot runners overwhelmingly forefoot strike Forefoot striking when barefoot is probably desirable ? Barefoot running CAN reduce impact force.
But... It can also increase the impact force, beyond that which occurs when wearing shoes Loading rate, shoes and barefoot Shoes do a pretty good job of "dampening" the loading rate 60-70% ? Theoretically, BF running can reduce impact force & loading rate Risk & reward But this depends on CORRECTLY running barefoot The biomechanical changes produced by barefoot running are not necessarily positive!
Recognize that barefoot running is a skill It is possible to change the forces using conscious technique training Running techniques (based on concepts related to barefoot running) achieve similar biomechanical changes to BF running Work done on the knee is reduced A forefoot/midfoot landing under the body (as for BF running) reduces the load on the knee Work done on the ankle is INCREASED If the work on the knee goes down, the work on the ankle must go UP Achilles tendon injury
Bone stress injuries (foot) Typical increase in training Training increase when barefoot Barefoot success may have very practical explanations - it may not be possible to train hard enough to injure yourself when barefot No difference in injury rate or type The danger of averages Loading rate, shoes and barefoot Shoes do a pretty good job of "dampening" the loading rate 1. Forces training differences 3. 2. Proprioception The anti-pronation dilemma Overpronation is causally linked to injury 1. Limiting pronation reduces injury risk 2. 3. Shoes can do this ? 36% 29% Famous Haiti study
Injury rates significantly lower in barefoot population Barefoot = less wealthy Less likely to seek medical attention People in shoes may have had previous injuries People in shoes train differently to barefoot individuals People in shoes may walk or run on different surfaces Weak link between pronation and shoes
Our ancestors didn't run in shoes, why should we?
Our bodies are "clever" enough to cushion our landing for us
Injury rates have stayed the same despite "advanced" shoes
Shoes are unnecessary, and barefoot is better Leap of logic Drastic drop in volume and intensity The great unknowns The injury-overpronation link Who succeeds?
Who fails? Why? 25% Per session Preparation period Barefoot walking
Calf strengthening 2-4 weeks 50% Normal session: 40 min run 6x per week 25% Total length 10 min 50% 50% Run length 5 min 5 x 1 min runs, with 1 min walk 20% 20% 50% Only 3x per week For at least 2 weeks Week 3 5 x 2 min run, with 1 min walk Week 5 3 x 8 min run, with 1 min walk Week 7 3 x 10 min run, with 2 min walk Week 9 2 x 20 min run, with 2 min walk Week 12 40 min run Harder surfaces better than soft Run last 2 min of a normal run barefoot Alternative method Thank you Questions Barefoot running:
Fad or Future? Ross Tucker Comparison of Loading rate in Vibrams, barefoot and cushioned shoes 50% of Vibram wearers still heel-strike The lowest loading rates occur in barefoot forefoot strikers Potential benefit, at least for impact injuries Potential increased risk of impact injuriesSee the full transcript