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There is no barefoot running debate

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Old 10th May 2011, 12:55 PM
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Default There is no barefoot running debate

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Following my recent discussions with Irene Davis at the Australasian Podiatry Conference and discussion with delegates about her presentations, I have decided that there really is no barefoot running debate or controversy, or at least in the way that the debate has been framed.

The debate is not really about if barefoot running or activity is good or bad, which is the way the barefoot community are framing the debate. For example, there was a post on Twitter a while back that said something like, ‘Nike and Podiatrists must be shaking in their boots at the thought of barefoot running’. The implication being that barefoot running was going to put Nike and Podiatry out of business. How often do you read such nonsensical comments that Podiatrists are opposed to barefoot activity as they would lose so much business? Foot orthotics for runners probably make up less than 0.01% of what Podiatrists do, so they clearly showing their ignorance about what podiatry is.

I do not know a single podiatrist who is opposed to barefoot running! I would love to know where people are getting there information from that Podiatrists are opposed to it (I assume there might be a few). I think pretty much all podiatrists would agree that all runners, at whatever level they are at, should incorporate at least some barefoot drills into their training. It probably does not matter if it is barefoot or in minimalist shoes. There are even some podiatrists who are actively promoting barefoot activity!

So where is the debate that people should run barefoot or not? So what is the debate or controversy about? (BTW, when I use the term ‘barefoot running’, I also mean ‘minimalist running’).

As I have repeatedly said in numerous posts in numerous threads, I have nothing against barefoot running (I am about to purchase the New Balance Minimus when they arrive in Australia!), what I object to is the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science by the Evangelists from the Church of Barefoot Running.

That is where the debate is. It is not about if barefoot running is good or not, it is about the way the science is being used. I always go where the evidence and science takes me.

Let’s deal with some of these:

The main claim from the barefoot running community is the reduction in injury rate that comes with barefoot running (and the claims that this why Podiatrists are opposed to it!). There is no doubt that some runners with a history of running injury are now running injury free by running barefoot. There is also no doubt that the opposite is happening (but that is not being acknowledged by the barefoot community). All the anecdotal reports from running injury clinics are that a lot of barefoot runners are getting injuries. Just go to any of the barefoot running websites, look at all the barefoot runners asking for advice on their injuries! Look at the all the stress fractures occurring in those using the Vibram five fingers. It is pretty clear from all this, there is probably a high rate of injury in barefoot runners, which is contrary to the claims made about barefoot running being so beneficial at reducing injuries. There is no actual research yet on the numbers and we discussed the problems with designing such research in the barefoot running debate thread.

When this anecdotes and reports of all the injuries are put to commentators from the barefoot community, the usual response is that the injury would have been due to poor form or training errors and not actually the barefoot or minimalist running. Yet, they still insist that modern running shoes are evil and when a runner gets an injury in a running shoe, then the shoe is to blame. Why can those injuries in running shoes not also be due to poor form or training errors? You can still have good running form in running shoes.

One of the claims from barefoot runners is that one of the main benefits of barefoot running is that it strengthens the muscles. I have no doubts that it does, but the issues I have is that were the muscles really weak to start with? There are certainly unsubstantiated claims that motion control running shoes weaken muscles, but do they? (See this thread: Do Running Shoes Weaken Muscles). We know the evidence is that motion control shoes do not really control motion at all, so do they weaken muscles if they not stopping motion from happening? If a non-runner starts running tomorrow in the most motion controlling running shoe, surely their muscles will get stronger from the running and not weaker? Can you see where I am going with this? I not convinced it’s a problem. ….and we know that a weakness of the foot intrinsic muscles actually leads to a higher arch foot, not the flat pronated foot that is claimed by the Church.

Also if barefoot running makes the muscles stronger (and we have Bruggerman’s research on the Nike Free showing that as well), then why are they getting stronger? They must be getting stronger as they have to work harder. Right? Surely, if the muscles are working harder, then the argument could be made that this is a sign of an inefficient gait or running form? Surely, the aim of a good running form or gait would be an efficient gait which would mean the muscles do not have to work as hard? This also implies that you cannot run as fast barefoot, as the muscles are working harder? I am happy to be convinced otherwise on this and other claims, but can you see how the claims of increased muscle strength can be used to interpret the opposite outcome of what is being claimed?

Moving away from barefoot running, there is the research that shoes cause more foot deformity. Yes, the research has shown there are more foot problems in the shoe wearing populations compared to non-shoe wearing populations and I have no doubt that shoes are a problem. However, if you actually read the research (rather than just blindly tout the results) you cannot actually make that conclusion. Those who ambulate on harder grounds are more likely to wear shoes, so what caused the foot problems? The hard ground or the shoe? This could be interpreted either way. Yet, the barefooters promote the shoes causing problems based on this research as it suits their agenda. See what I mean about the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science. Do not get me wrong, shoes probably do cause the problems, but to use this research as evidence is flawed.

Another of the claims about barefoot running is the reduced impact on the heel and the effect this has on lowering the injury rate (I discussed the injury rate above). Up until now research has not yet been able to link those impacts to any injury risk despite all the claims. The systematic reviews of that research have confirmed that. However, since the most recent systematic review there is now one study linking the impacts to injury but it is only been published in abstract form at this stage and not yet in a peer reviewed journal. How do we interpret that research in the context of all the previous research? One thing we do not do is jump to conclusions. This is going to have to be a matter of watch this space.

Then we have the research that the barefoot community claims proves barefoot running is better. There was Leibermann’s research in Nature. It did not prove barefoot running was better. All it did show (despite the flaws in the methods such as the big differences in the age of the groups compared) was that barefoot running is different to shoe running. That is all, yet somehow this got widely touted on barefoot running websites and in the mass media as proof barefoot was better. Even Liebermann himself had to take the unprecedented step to publish a disclaimer on his website to distance himself from that sort of conclusion!, yet that study is still be trotted out as proof that barefoot is better. Then there was Kerrigan’s research that was widely touted on barefoot sites as proof that running shoes cause knee osteoarthritis (it was not even a study on osteoarthritis!), and there is plenty of other evidence is that runners do not get more osteoarthritis than non-runners! I have seen the work of Robbins and Gouw quoted several times as showing that impacts are related to plantar fasciitis (yet none of the experiments they did were even on runners with plantar fasciitis!). How many more examples do I need to give of this?

One of the benefits of barefoot running is claimed to be the economy of running based on the research on the weight of running shoes and the impact that this weight has on running economy. I have no doubt that it is probably the case (except that running shoes are a lot lighter now than they were when that research was done). However, this economy of running needs to be interpreted in the context of the increased muscle activity in barefoot running (see above).

Then there is the claims made that running shoes are dangerous due to the wider flare of the sole under the heel increasing the lever arm and increasing the risks for ankle sprains. This is a theoretical argument based on the work of the late Alex Stacoff. The only problem with this claim is that in all the epidemiological studies of running injuries, I have never seen ankle sprains on the list of injuries that runners get, so it’s a bit of a furphy.

Then we see the arguments used on the elite runner. They cite Abebe Bikala winning the Rome Olympic marathon barefoot (but forget to mention he went on to run faster and break a world record in the next Olympics wearing shoes; and was heel striking when he did). They cite Zola Budd and her exploits at the 1500m Olympic level barefoot (but forget to mention she is quoted as saying that she had to start wearing running shoes to stop all the injuries that she started getting!). They cite Herb Elliot who did do some training barefoot (but forget to mention that this was on the beach!).

No elite runners are running barefoot. They have teams of people working with them looking for any advantage and if running barefoot would give them an advantage, then they will be doing it. Why aren’t they? (however, many are doing a number of barefoot drills as part of their training). If you look at all the slow motion videos of the elite runners: some heel strike, some midfoot strike, and some forefoot strike … yet they all run fast. Conclusion: there is no one right way to run - its individual.

Then there are the plain insane claims. I have seen a couple of times now claims by barefooters that there is increasing amounts of research showing that there are immune system benefits to going barefoot (when in reality there is not one piece of research that comes remotely close to showing or even suggesting that). Then there are the claims that you use less petrol in the car driving barefoot (yet petrol consumption at 50MPH is going to be exactly the same if you have your shoes on or not!).

I am sure you can see where this is heading… If the Evangelists from the Church of Barefoot Running want to be taken seriously, they need to stop the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science. I, for one, will always go where the science and evidence takes me.

I have discussed a lot of this with several barefoot runners and none of them disagree with me. When I ask them about the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science, they agree; are somewhat embarrassed and cannot explain why so many in the barefoot community do that for. They often urge me not to be judgemental of all barefoot runners based on what some in the barefoot community say (ie the Church). Remember, BarefootPT who posted in the barefoot running debate thread about how embarrassed they were by these people and their claims.

I do genuinely really want to understand all this, to be better informed, to be involved. I recently purchased some barefoot books based on recommendations on some barefoot running sites. They were useless. They were full of nonsensical propaganda. The understanding of the foot biomechanics by the authors was appalling (eg one still talked about the ‘tripod’ model of the foot – how many years ago was that debunked by science?). They provided me with no useful information. They were like manifestos from a political party, in that the party faithful love them, but they provide no useful information to others outside the party or ‘church’. The only useful book I purchased was Craig Richards’ book, The Complete Idiots Guide to Barefoot Running. It does not try to ram the ‘party line’ down your throat; is sensible in the way it interprets the science; and actually has some good guidance on how to transition to barefoot running. … ie its got the kind of information that you and I need. (I made more comments on the books in the barefoot running debate thread).

Are you still with me?

Like the extreme fanatical religious groups and loony left political movements, even though you and I think they are wrong and misguided, they do force you to look closer at your own world view (whether that be religion, politics or barefoot running).
I do see a shift happening. I see more emphasis on good running form vs “bad” running form as opposed to shoe vs barefoot running. I do see the potential for greater tissue adaptation in running injury prevention.

If we consider the aim of foot orthotics to alter joint moments to reduce the load in injured tissues, then can a change in running form achieve the same alteration in joint moments? The answer is a qualified ‘yes’ (the Church’s answer is going to be an emphatic ‘yes’). Foot orthotics will be much more effective at reducing joint moments in the short term, so can certainly be much more effective at getting over an injury (you can worry about transitioning away from them later). Altering running form is more of a longer term measure and can form part of the transition away from foot orthotics. However, the reason I used a qualified ‘yes’, is that the Church have to realise that in some (or many?) runners, the abnormal joint moments can be so high that a change in running form or muscle strength is not going to be able to reduce the load in the tissues to below a level the tissues can tolerate or be adapted to. The only way to get them low enough in this group is with foot orthotics (or in the extreme case which happens now, surgery). (I will write more on my evolving views on this another time).

There is no debate about if barefoot running is good or not. The debate is about the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science.

What say you?

Last edited by Craig Payne : 29th July 2011 at 06:44 PM. Reason: fixed typos
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Old 10th May 2011, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

The twins must be away on holiday with Mimi in order for you to write something this long on Podiatry Arena, Craig. Looking forward to catching up with you again in Manchester.
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Old 10th May 2011, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Nice summation of a 1000 post thread. I too, was amazed at the length of the post.

Eric
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Old 10th May 2011, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Related threads:
Other threads tagged with barefoot running
Vibram FiveFingers Cause Metatarsal Stress Fractures?
Barefoot Running Debate
Transitioning to Minimalist Running Shoes

Barefooter giving advice to those with diabetes to go barefoot

Do running shoes weaken muscles?
The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques
"Top of Foot Pain" from Barefoot Running
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Old 10th May 2011, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Nice summation of a 1000 post thread. I too, was amazed at the length of the post
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The twins must be away on holiday with Mimi in order for you to write something this long on Podiatry Arena, Craig.
I would be so lucky! In reality, I have been sick for a week; have a zillion people wanting a piece of me; and wrote it when I could not sleep from 3.00AM ....
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Old 10th May 2011, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate



Here is another good one that I read on a running science blog:
How to spot bad science and fads - Determining whether an idea is worthwhile

Barefoot running meets all the criteria
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Old 11th May 2011, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Remember, BarefootPT who posted in the barefoot running debate thread about how embarrassed they were by these people and their claims.
My ears where burning. Yes, I am still here lurking. I look forward to the weekly email newsletter and do click of a few topics to read.

Have to say, I can't disagree with anything you are saying. I can only add that my patient population is biased as I now do barefoot coaching, but half the runners I treat are barefoot/minimalist runners. So, yes they do get injuries.
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Old 11th May 2011, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Yes, I am still here lurking.
Here are the posts I was referring to from the Barefoot Running Debate thread
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I am a physical therapist and a barefoot runner (though mostly in VFF). I started barefoot running after falling for all the hype and now have long period of being injury free which I did not have previously. I am an advocate of barefoot running, but have never used it in the treatment of any runner who has an injury and do not think I will ever do that. I do not preach to them, but if they want my help if they want to do it I will do what I can for them.

And yes, barefoot running does help some people who have a history of injuries, but I am also treating a number of runners who have got injuries from barefoot running and probably should not be running without running shoes.

I think the "barefoot running community" have a lot to answer for in the claims they make along with the rhetoric and hype (that I am now embarrassed that I originally fell for). They need to be and should be held accountable for these. I am appalled at how science is being used by "my" community to justify what “we” are doing. I even recently went to a talk at my local running shoe shop given by Barefoot "guru". I had to leave after the first 10 minutes as I could not stand the embarrassment. They could not even get the basic foot anatomy right, let alone understand the basic biomechanics of running.
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I am going to wholeheartedly agree with you. I posted earlier in this thread. I am a physical therapist and a strong advocate of barefoot running. I do however continue to be embarrassed by the barefoot “gurus” and the claims they make and yes, they are hurting the cause. They continually show what a poor understanding they have of basic lower limb anatomy and biomechanics. Like you, I am appalled that so many fall for the propaganda and the misuse of the science. To me, that does not make barefoot running as something that is not good for you. It just means we need to see past the false claims.

I was eager to read Howell’s book on barefoot running as I thought finally, someone who teaches anatomy and has a PhD can get it right. It was a major disappointment. He has an extremely poor understanding of foot anatomy, biomechanics and lower limb injuries. I just wish those praising the book had a better understanding of these topics so they can see that it is all as you said, propaganda.
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Old 12th May 2011, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

How very matrix of you Craig



Do not try to win the debate, tha's impossible. Instead, only try to realise the truth. There is no debate...
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Old 12th May 2011, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Then there is the claims made that running shoes are dangerous due to the wider flare of the sole under the heel increasing the lever arm and increasing the risks for ankle sprains. This is a theoretical argument based on the work of the late Alex Stacoff. The only problem with this claim is that in all the epidemiological studies of running injuries, I have never seen ankle sprains on the list of injuries that runners get, so it’s a bit of a furphy.
Anyone else apart from me never heard this word before?

For those of us in the UK: Furphy
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Old 12th May 2011, 01:27 AM
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Anyone else apart from me never heard this word before?
For those of us in the UK: Furphy
I did not know it was an Australian word! I first heard it many years ago as it was used a lot by a New Zealand politician, John Banks and his talkback radio show.

Its a good word to use. I use it a lot.
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Old 12th May 2011, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Then there are the plain insane claims. I have seen a couple of times now claims by barefooters that there is increasing amounts of research showing that there are immune system benefits to going barefoot (when in reality there is not one piece of research that comes remotely close to showing or even suggesting that). Then there are the claims that you use less petrol in the car driving barefoot (yet petrol consumption at 50MPH is going to be exactly the same if you have your shoes on or not!).
News just in... Hope you are ready for this one...

Barefoot Likely Better Than Shoes If You Step on a Nail

Brilliant.

Craig - you know the blog this one has come from. I couldn't bring myself to link it and give him any traffic.
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Old 16th May 2011, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Craig, nice post. I bought a pair of New Balance Minimus Trail shoes the day they became available in the US. I have since had the opportunity to run in them at lengths anywhere from 1600 meters up to 20 miles, on roads, trails and the track. I have spent a lot of time comparing them to other types of shoes over similar surfaces and distances. The biggest surprise to me was how well they worked on the track! Every Monday I do a series of 1600 meter repeats to work on form, gait, strength, etc. for the marathon. I have found the NB Minimus trail to be an outstanding track shoe for many reasons.

After you've had a chance to own and run in them for a while, I'd love to compare notes.

Dana
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Old 17th May 2011, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Also if barefoot running makes the muscles stronger (and we have Bruggerman’s research on the Nike Free showing that as well), then why are they getting stronger? They must be getting stronger as they have to work harder. Right? Surely, if the muscles are working harder, then the argument could be made that this is a sign of an inefficient gait or running form? Surely, the aim of a good running form or gait would be an efficient gait which would mean the muscles do not have to work as hard? This also implies that you cannot run as fast barefoot, as the muscles are working harder? I am happy to be convinced otherwise on this and other claims, but can you see how the claims of increased muscle strength can be used to interpret the opposite outcome of what is being claimed?
Craig, this morning I ran in a pair of Nike Free 3.0 while thinking about your questions. I was not barefoot running but I was wearing the shoes behind the research you referenced. What causes the muscles in your feet to work harder is not related to gait or form but is related to the level of support and flexibility the shoe provides.

Essentially, the shoe provides close to no support for your foot. I would speculate that since the shoe is not providing support, the muscles in your feet are required to do so in it's place. Since the shoe is extremely flexible, it further contributes to the shoes lack of support. Secondarily, the shoe flexibility allows considerable freedom for the foot to move in a full and minimally impeded range of motion. I presume it's where the name came from. Lack of support and high flexibility are certainly qualities shared with running barefoot.

One thing the Frees do not share with barefoot is the considerable amount of cushion they have. Without going into the pro's and con's of having the cushion, I will say that combining, minimal support, high flexibility and cushion together in one shoe sure provides for an incredibly comfortable and very pleasurable ride.

I don't think it is a bad thing to work muscles harder to make them stronger in training. The key being in training as opposed to racing. The whole concept of training is to become stronger so that you are faster in racing. As much as I like wearing minimal shoes, I also wear heavier traditional shoes. Part of the reason for doing that is to work certain systems harder from the added mass in training then switch back to a low mass shoe for racing.

If you look at what elite runners are wearing while they are racing, most have shoes that weigh in the 4 or 5 OZ range. They are about as minimal as you can get without going barefoot. The primary benefit of the elite runner's racing shoe is simply to protect the foot from ground friction and sharp objects. The minimal support and cushion the shoes may offer are only secondary. Given that, I would bet the elite runner's foot certainly has the strength to deal with wearing the near barefoot racing flats that they wear and probably not too dissimilar to the barefoot runner's foot.

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Old 20th May 2011, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about:

Here is a guest blog written by IanG for ransacker on barefoot running. Judging by the comments it was balanced and well received. One comment from a barefooter jumped out at me:
Quote:
You also totally ignore the dozens of high-quality biomechanics research papers which shows that running shoes reduce performance and increase injuries.
To which Ian quite rightly replied
Quote:
Perhaps you’d like to list some of the ‘dozens of high-quality biomechanics research papers’ you refer to which show that running shoes increase injuries… I’ll save you the time before you look… There aren’t any.
I have asked this many times, can someone explain to me why barefoot runners make this stuff up so much? Where are they getting all this information from? Why do they make this stuff up for? What motivates the lie?

This is exactly what I mean when I say
Quote:
what I object to is the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science by the Evangelists from the Church of Barefoot Running.
Can some barefooter please explain to us all, why they do this for?
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Old 20th May 2011, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Here is a guest blog written by IanG for ransacker on barefoot running.
Great article, Ian. I have added my two cents to your blog. Keep up the good work!
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Old 28th May 2011, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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One of the claims from barefoot runners is that one of the main benefits of barefoot running is that it strengthens the muscles. I have no doubts that it does, but the issues I have is that were the muscles really weak to start with? There are certainly unsubstantiated claims that motion control running shoes weaken muscles, but do they? (See this thread: Do Running Shoes Weaken Muscles). We know the evidence is that motion control shoes do not really control motion at all, so do they weaken muscles if they not stopping motion from happening? If a non-runner starts running tomorrow in the most motion controlling running shoe, surely their muscles will get stronger from the running and not weaker? Can you see where I am going with this? I not convinced it’s a problem. ….and we know that a weakness of the foot intrinsic muscles actually leads to a higher arch foot, not the flat pronated foot that is claimed by the Church.

Also if barefoot running makes the muscles stronger (and we have Bruggerman’s research on the Nike Free showing that as well), then why are they getting stronger? They must be getting stronger as they have to work harder. Right? Surely, if the muscles are working harder, then the argument could be made that this is a sign of an inefficient gait or running form? Surely, the aim of a good running form or gait would be an efficient gait which would mean the muscles do not have to work as hard? This also implies that you cannot run as fast barefoot, as the muscles are working harder? I am happy to be convinced otherwise on this and other claims, but can you see how the claims of increased muscle strength can be used to interpret the opposite outcome of what is being claimed?
Just a follow up to that. The latest research evidence is that barefoot running does NOT increase muscle strength. I was surprised at that finding.
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Old 28th May 2011, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Then there are the plain insane claims. I have seen a couple of times now claims by barefooters that there is increasing amounts of research showing that there are immune system benefits to going barefoot (when in reality there is not one piece of research that comes remotely close to showing or even suggesting that). Then there are the claims that you use less petrol in the car driving barefoot (yet petrol consumption at 50MPH is going to be exactly the same if you have your shoes on or not!).
A follow up to the just plain silly claims....

I think we can agree that kids should go barefoot as much as possible, but to claim this:
Ticking Time Bomb:
Children's Shoes Cause Health Problems Later in Life for Adults

Its just plain silly. Look at some of this claim:
Quote:
Among the untold problems that wearing shoes can impose in the developing child is the impact on the brain.
Quote:
Without the natural muscle contraction in the feet, for example, especially in the very small immature muscles that move the toes, impairment from wearing thick, oversupported modern shoes can reduce the brain maturing process.
How do they expect to be taken seriously with these sorts of unsupported nonsensical claims?
"Ticking time bomb"? How many years have kids been wearing shoes? Where is the epidemic of intellectual disability as a result of wearing shoes? Why are the shoe wearing populations achieving greater academic outcomes compared to the non-shoe wearing populations? ... I guess there is nothing like a little fact to ruin a rant. Sadly people take this stuff seriously.
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The debate is about the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science.
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Old 29th May 2011, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Ticking Time Bomb:
Children's Shoes Cause Health Problems Later in Life for Adults
Its just plain silly. Look at some of this claim:
Quote:
Among the untold problems that wearing shoes can impose in the developing child is the impact on the brain.
The guy that wrote that must have worn shoes as a child.
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Old 1st June 2011, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

thanks Eric.. that made me laugh out loud. mind if I use that?
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Old 2nd June 2011, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Greetings all - I've been following the barefoot thread but haven't had reason to post in a while.

I'm curious is anyone of my esteemed colleagues on here is at ACSM convention this week here in Denver and sat in on the barefoot symposium today with Lieberman, Davis and others?

I walked out of it with specific thoughts of my own but wondered if anyone else caught it and had thoughts. There were definitely some "issues" with it in my very humble opinion.
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Old 4th June 2011, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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There is no debate about if barefoot running is good or not. The debate is about the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science.
Here is another classic:

ASICS versus Zero Drop, Maximalist versus Minimalist


Look at all the references they used; shame they have not heard of 'critical appraisal' as a number of the papers did not actually show what they are claiming they show. See what I mean by the above quote?

This does not mean they are wrong; they are just assuming they are right by using references that do not actually show what they claim they show.

on another note:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
(I am about to purchase the New Balance Minimus when they arrive in Australia!)
They arrived today. My second attempt to transition to the dark side can now begin. The first attempt to get over the the dark side with the MBT shoes was a failure due to them causing achilles tendonitis (thank god for the cluffy wedge!)
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  #23  
Old 8th June 2011, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Any idea when the new balance minimus will be available in the uk? A quick google search didn't return anything...
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Old 8th June 2011, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

One of the arguments that I have heard from barefoot runners is that forefoot landing reduces pronation in relation to heel strinking. Surely if contact is made with the lateral side of the forefoot this will produce the same ammount of pronation as heel strinking and at a faster rate?
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Old 8th June 2011, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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One of the arguments that I have heard from barefoot runners is that forefoot landing reduces pronation in relation to heel strinking. Surely if contact is made with the lateral side of the forefoot this will produce the same ammount of pronation as heel strinking and at a faster rate?
Just another example of barefoot runners:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science
You see claims like that in some of the barefoot running books. Generally there interpretation and understanding of biomechanics is really bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
I recently purchased some barefoot books based on recommendations on some barefoot running sites. They were useless. They were full of nonsensical propaganda. The understanding of the foot biomechanics by the authors was appalling (eg one still talked about the ‘tripod’ model of the foot – how many years ago was that debunked by science?).
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Old 8th June 2011, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy A View Post
One of the arguments that I have heard from barefoot runners is that forefoot landing reduces pronation in relation to heel strinking. Surely if contact is made with the lateral side of the forefoot this will produce the same ammount of pronation as heel strinking and at a faster rate?

The lateral forefoot has a longer lever arm to the STJ axis than any other point on the plantar foot. Force there will create a greater pronation moment and if that moment is unopposed it will create a faster pronation than pressure from heel strike.

Eric
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Old 8th June 2011, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Then there is this recent article from the New York Times... Are We Built to Run Barefoot?

Putting aside the monotonous Lieberman nonsense... the following I found questionable in the real world of running...

Quote:
Even when a barefoot runner has developed what would seem to be ideal form, the force generated may be unfamiliar to the body and potentially injurious, as another study presented at last week’s conference suggests. For the study, conducted at the Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, runners strode across a force plate, deliberately landing either on the forefoot or on the heel. When heel striking, the volunteers generated the expected thudding ground reaction forces; when they landed near the front of the foot, the force was still there, though it generally had a lower frequency, or hertz.

Earlier research has shown that high-frequency forces tend to move up the body through a person’s bones. Lower-frequency forces typically move through muscles and soft tissue. So shifting to a forefoot running style, as people do when running barefoot, may lessen your risk for a stress fracture, and up your chances of developing a muscle strain or tendinitis.
Is the issue of frequency/hertz really indicative of what happens in the real world of running?... are there other factors more prominent in this area? Contrary to the above I have read reports of runners training in Vibram 5fingers who have received Metatarsal stress fractures. Runners for decades have been acquiring stress fractures whilst training in the conventional training shoe. I thought the major contributor of stress fractures is actually muscle related tension/force on bone. Also, runners for decades have been acquiring soft tissue injuries regardless of wearing conventional, minimalist of being barefoot. I feel the real issue is not so much the frequency of the force but the nature of the force & when & where the force is directed... i.e. as far as stress fractures are concerned, the minimalist/barefoot runner may have a higher chance of getting a stress fracture in the foot (i.e. Metatarsal), whilst for the conventional shoe wearer may get it in the Tibia; as far as soft tissue injuries is concerned the minimalist/barefoot runner may have a higher chance of acquiring an Achilles/Calf related injury, whilst the conventional shoe wearer may have a higher percentage of acquiring Shin Splints etc...
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Old 9th June 2011, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Is the issue of frequency/hertz really indicative of what happens in the real world of running?

leg stiffness, CNS stimulation and Piper rhythm

Leg Stiffness

if you think leg stiffness and spring mass model has any place in understanding of gait and injury then -Yes
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Old 9th June 2011, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by mike weber View Post
Is the issue of frequency/hertz really indicative of what happens in the real world of running?

leg stiffness, CNS stimulation and Piper rhythm

Leg Stiffness

if you think leg stiffness and spring mass model has any place in understanding of gait and injury then -Yes
Thanks Mark... but the sentence you referenced was intended to be in context to the article I cited & in particular the two paragraphs I quoted (maybe I wasn't clear).

By the phrase... "real world of running", I'm referring to the fact that... well I'll take a guess... say 99% of the running population do wear some form of running shoe & hence the potential frequency/hertz level is dampened by varying degrees by the type of shoe worn... particularly those "evil" thick heeled/midsole running shoes. Hence with this in mind (though the research is interesting) what degree of relevance does this issue alone play in relation to bone (stress fractures) & muscle (strains/tendonitis) involvement... I would say a much smaller one in relation to other forces involved... particularly in shod runners.

But for barefoot: True barefoot runners are a rare species & those true barefoot runners who actually barefoot strike with their heel I think are as hard to find as the infamous missing link. If by un-natural selection (pun intended) one was to strike heel first barefoot on an un-natural hard surface... say asphalt/concrete or a force plate for example (as per the research), then the findings for this heel striker may be valid if he/she was to continually run this way.

I'm willing to bet that true barefoot runners who heel strike do not exist in the real world & I'm also willing to bet that the Kenyan children study done by Lieberman wasn't all that valid to say the least. If those normally shod Kenyan children were allowed to run around barefoot for say 10min beforehand (I'll put my neck on the line & say) they would have all been midfoot strikers by the end... even on the likely softer surface of the Kenyan countryside... if it was on a harder surface... I'll give it no more than a minute or so.

Getting results by telling the subject to run a certain way (i.e. heel strike barefoot) is one thing but it doesn't have much validity in the real world when there is normally an intercessory role via a neural system which is designed to make the appropriate adjustments via biofeedback mechanisms... particularly on unforgiving surfaces.

That said, the level of frequency/hertz & its relation to the medium it targets (bone or muscle) & subsequent injury that could result sounds very interesting as well as the Piper Rhythms you mentioned... I'll look into this further - thanks for the references.
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Old 9th June 2011, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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I'm also willing to bet that the Kenyan children study done by Lieberman wasn't all that valid to say the least. If those normally shod Kenyan children were allowed to run around barefoot for say 10min beforehand (I'll put my neck on the line & say) they would have all been midfoot strikers by the end... even on the likely softer surface of the Kenyan countryside... if it was on a harder surface... I'll give it no more than a minute or so.
Lieberman et al eliminated the Kenyan data from the analysis in their study in Nature.
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