Barefoot Running

In the Sunday Times on 31/07/11 there was discussion about barefoot running. Francesca Hornak said “if you have ever sprinted for the bus in ballet pumps you will know it is a different sensation to pounding a treadmill in boingy trainers”.  Some runners believe
trainers actually do more damage.  She went on to say that barefoot running had been around for ever but in the last ten years it had gained more credibility as shown by the success of Christopher McDougall’s 2009 book Born to Run and Nike’s popular Free Run+line of featherlight footwear.

The article stated that consideration should be given to the fact that nearly three-quarters of runners sustained injury every year, a statistic barefoot runners suggest is a onsequence of poor technique caused by snazzy trainers.

They feel that we have forgotten to run properly and that our “sticky” jogging stride and forward leaning posture is synthetic and a direct result of over-cushioned modern
running shoes.  Barefoot runners advocate a more nature forefoot landing which, besides minimizing injury, also results in more steps per minute than heel striking and actually burns more calories.  Not everyone is convinced and sceptics argue that our evolutionary heritage accounts for little after a lifetime of wearing shoes.  Be warned, undoing habits takes time.  You cannot just shed the shoes and go.  “As long as you can do a barefoot squat with your heels on the ground, that’s a good first step”.  Every four year old can run perfectly.  The challenge is reawakening our innate ability.

A full copy of this short article can be obtained from the Fyfield Clinic along with help and advice from Barry Franics “the foot surgeon”

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